Kenya risks losing KSh48 billion from Global Fund over Covid-19 Kemsa graft

KENYA – The Global Fund has said Kenya risks losing KSh48 billion (US$444.7 million) if corruption allegations at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) are not completed and changes made to ensure transparency.

The fund mobilizes and invests money to accelerate the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission began investigating allegations of graft at Kemsa last year over the procurement and supply of Covid-19 equipment. The agency cited an “irregular expenditure” of KSh7.8 billion.

The Fund and the Kenyan government have signed a new KSh48 billion grant aimed at boosting the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in the country.

Audit underway

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Fund’s Grant Management Division head Mark Edington said an audit was underway that will advise future decisions on the release of grants to Kenya. The audit is being conducted by the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector-General (OIG).

The Global Fund is aware of the graft allegations at Kemsa, he said, and wants a commitment from all stakeholders that Kemsa’s management, transparency and accountability problems are being looked into.

Demands

He outlined the demands that must be met for Kenya to continue receiving grants. These include Kemsa finishing the implementation of reforms so that they can make urgent interventions, including addressing recent disruptions in the supply of critical HIV drugs.

The Fund, which has approved a total of US$68 million to support Kenya in mitigating the consequences of Covid-19, also expressed its displeasure at the procurement of materials needed to fight the virus.

We request that the government of Kenya puts in place mitigation measures to ensure timely procurement of health products, including for Covid-19, which are critical and urgent. Some of the lead times we have seen are unacceptably long,” he said.

He further applauded Kenya for its US$ 6 million contribution to the Global Fund replenishment and for the proactive counterpart funding commitment from the Government of Kenya of KSh16 billion (approximately US$ 147 million) for HIV, Tuberculosis & Malaria as part of its counterpart contribution.

These remarks come as Kenya has requested an additional US$31 million, now under review to boost the Covid-19 response, with Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman saying he was optimistic it will be approved.

The Global Fund has so far approved Ksh7.44 billion (US$68.9 million) in grants to support Kenya in mitigating the effects of the pandemic under its Covid-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) program.

“On June 15, the country submitted an additional funding request of Ksh3.3 billion (US$31.1 million), which is currently under review, to boost the Covid-19 response,” Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said on Tuesday.

Ministry of Health, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Rashid Aman, said that the funds will be used in strengthening health systems at National, County as well as community levels.

Dr. Aman said that as a country they hope to achieve comprehensive prevention, treatment and care for people infected with HIV, TB, leprosy and lung diseases by at least 75 per cent by 2023.

The CAS commended Global Fund for the new grant, adding that the Fund has provided 25 grants to the Kenya since 2002, amounting to Sh100 billion.

Previous Global Fund grants went to the purchase of automated and manual tests kits, personal protective equipment (PPEs), and oxygen equipment and support for containment activities at community level.

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