Kilifi CS Arnold Mkare arrested by EACC

Arnold Mkare

Four Senior Kilifi county officials have been arrested in relation to an ambiguous tender deal worth millions that was to curb Covid-19 in the county.

The four officers, including the CEC Finance, County Secretary and two officials from the health department have been arrested by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over the irregular procurement of the tender for the construction of Kilifi Covid-19 Complex centre.

For weeks now EACC has been probing the alleged irregular contract and tender awarded to a company, Pharmaken Limited.

The Kilifi County Secretary Arnold Mkare, Chief Officer for Health Services Bilal Mazoya, and Chief Officer for Medical Alio Ibrahim, were arrested for failing to give information on the Complex.

The first phase of the complex is worth Sh493million, while the second phase was estimated at Sh398million.

EACC lower coast regional manager, Mutembei Nyaga said they had widened their investigations to ensure all suspects are arrested.

“We are processing details and all those implicated in the deal will have charges pressed against them, depending on how investigations commence,” said Nyaga.

Also later arrested was the Finance Chief Officer Benjamin Kai, while the head of procurement and supply was still being sought.

EACC wrote to the Kilifi county secretary on April 14th this year, requesting to be furnished with original documents into the alleged irregular award of a service tender issued to Pharmaken Limited.

The tender was also for the repair and maintenance of equipment in Kilifi county hospitals as part of measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

The letter was signed by the upper Coast EACC regional boss, Ignatius Wekesa, on behalf of EACC chief executive officer, and addressed to the Kilifi county secretary, Mkare Anold Jefwa.

In a report, EACC said they were investigating the irregular procurement for the construction of the Kilifi Covid-19 complex.

“The commission received a complaint that even though the complex was commissioned recently, it was shrewd with a myriad of irregularities in the manner in which the procurement process was handled,” said Nyaga.

There were suspicions that the contract prices could have been irregularly varied, with questionable procurement of the ventilators, ward beds and ICU beds.

The multi-million complex was commissioned last week by Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi.

EACC commenced investigations on Monday, in which the organization sought original procurement, contractual and payment documents, adverts, bid documents, tender registers, evaluation allocations, standard tender documents, minutes of all meetings in regards to the tender, award letters, contract documents, site visit reports, all payment documents.

Nyaga said the documents will help EACC to establish whether prior planning and budgeting was done, and interrogate the procurement process.

“How the award and contracting was handled, to ascertain whether there was conflict of interest, bid rigging, contract price and the payment made to establish value for money, quality of workmanship, whether it was in tandem with the bills of quantities and whether there was any variations into the contract,” Nyaga added.

The commission will investigate the contract for the ward beds, the ICU beds, and the ventilators.

“Also to be looked into are the issues to do with bidding rigging, conflict of interest and abuse of office in the process,” he said.

In April, Jefwa confirmed to have received the letter and said he will liase with the relevant department, to establish the position.

“I am aware of the letter. I have alerted those concerned and they are to give the official position over the matter,” said Jefwa.

Kilifi County has so far recorded 9 confirmed cases of corona virus, with the county’s deputy Governor, Gedion Saburi, facing charges of knowingly passing the infection to others including his driver.

About the Author

Moses Okitae
Moses Okitae Writes about Science stories, food security and human interest stories.

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