How one man clinched Ksh.1 billion tender in 24 hours at KEMSA


How one man clinched Ksh.1 billion tender in 24 hours at KEMSA
James Chelule, who is the director of Shop N Buy, grilled by Public Investment Committee. PHOTO| COURTESY

Members of Parliament were on Wednesday told how one man secured a Ksh.1 billion tender from the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) in just 24 hours.

James Chelule, who is the director of Shop N Buy, was grilled by Public Investment Committee on his inexplicable influence at KEMSA and why he failed to file tax returns as required by law.

It also emerged that the company was barely three months old, when it won the tender.

Chelulei told the watchdog committee that he heard about the KEMSA tender for PPEs and related items through his clients Trade shop, Edu Matt and Bennet Ventures and subsequently wrote an intent letter to KEMSA.

He then received a commitment letter to supply 100,000 PPEs and an additional 100,000 KN95 masks worth Ksh.1 billion in a record 24 hours.

Shop N Buy paid Ksh.687,000 to the taxman for 60% of the supplies that were imported and supplied to KEMSA.

Members of the Public Investment Committee pushing Chelulei to explain the disparity in figures and failure to pay monthly tax to KRA.

KEMSA procurement director’s secretary Pamela Kaburu while appearing before the Committee said she was instructed by then CEO Jonah Manjari to backdate a commitment letter awarded to Shop N Buy.

Chelulei told the committee that his firm, only 3 months old at the time, sourced PPEs from Techwise and Carrier Logistics both of them, Chinese companies and was unable to file returns since he is yet to be paid by the medical supplies agency.

The committee has now given Chelulei three days to furnish it with more details and names of individuals suspected to be behind Shop N Buy’s unexplained influence in winning such a huge tender within such record time.

The Public Investments Committee is part of the multi-agency team that is probing dozens of companies who irregularly acquired lucrative tenders at exaggerated prices that could see the tax payers lose in excess of Ksh.5 billion.

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Story By Elphas Lagat
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