Former anti-graft boss summoned over links to Sh347 million face masks tender - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 18 February 2021

Former anti-graft boss summoned over links to Sh347 million face masks tender

 

Parliament has summoned former anti-graft czar Halakhe Waqo after he was adversely mentioned in the multimillion-shilling Kenya Medical Supplies Authority scandal.

The former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chief executive allegedly helped Aszure Commercial Services secure a Sh347 million loan from First Community Bank (FCB) to supply KN95 masks to Kemsa.

Aszure director, Zubeida Nyamlondo, told the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC) that the company had failed to raise the cash before Mr Waqo came to its rescue. 

Cleared to supply 50,000 boxes of masks at Sh690 each, Ms Nyamlondo was at pains to explain how a furniture company won a multimillion-shilling medical tender.

Covid millionaires

“The company did not have the cash. We applied for a loan from the First Community Bank and Mr Waqo gave us the assurance that they (bank) needed to approve it,” she said.

The committee chairman, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, said Mr Waqo must explain how he guaranteed a company when he was “neither a director nor a shareholder”.

“We will invite him to appear before us and explain all the matters raised. People have been talking about Covid millionaires; we are now getting to the bottom of it,” Mr Nassir. 

Ms Nyamlondo did not, however, say how she met Mr Waqo, and  blamed it on memory loss. 

The committee also wants to establish from Mr Waqo whether he is the faceless owner of Aszure Commercial Services Ltd and only fronted Ms Nyamolondo as its director.

Zubeda Nyamlondo

Azzure Commercial Services Ltd director Zubeda Nyamlondo when she appeared before the Public Investments Committee at Parliament buildings on February 17, 2021 to respond to questions from members regarding the special audit report on Covid-19 funds.

Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Bank loan

“The real faces of Covid millionaires are now coming out. We need Mr Waqo here. We have the wrong person in front of us,” said Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris.

The MPs also want to establish why the company, which had an account at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), opted to borrow from First Community Bank.

“KCB is a big bank that can approve a loan of even Sh2 billion; why did the company settle on Community Bank?” posed Kaloleni MP Paul Katana.

“Now that Waqo’s name has been adversely mentioned, we have summoned him to come and explain how he ended up being a signatory of a company that he is not a shareholder,” Mr Katana added.

Documents presented before the committee indicate that Aszure Commercial Services Ltd initially had three directors; Dorothy Undwa Omogi, Phanice Adhigo Onsiti and Stanley Kithia Rimbere. Now, Phanice Adhigo Onsiti and Zubeida Nyamolondo are the only directors. 

Letter of intent

The committee was shocked to learn that the company won the tender without producing a letter of intent. MPs believe there are more powerful people behind it who used Ms Nyamolondo as a proxy.

Ms Nyamlondo told MPs that she just walked into the procurement manager’s office, Charles Juma — now suspended — where she was simply asked to produce samples of the masks. Four days later, she won the tender. Just like that.

The committee directed the company to provide all its audited accounts since its inception and volume of work it has done with various organisations.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) told the committee that 77 companies that supplied Covid-related materials failed to declare sales as required by law.

The Commissioner-General, Githii Mburu, told MPs that KRA will file a report in Parliament regarding the money they are owed in taxes.


COURTESY OF THE DAILY NATION

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