KENYA— President William Ruto has swiftly responded to the challenges faced by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) by appointing Irungu Nyakera as the new chairperson of the reconstituted board.

Alongside Mr. Nyakera, four additional members, Hezbon Oyieko Omollo, Bernard Kipkirui Bett, Jane Masiga, and Jane Nyagaturi Mbatia, have been appointed to the board to support the revitalization efforts.

Taking to Twitter, Mr. Nyakera expressed his commitment to the task at hand, stating, “Today, I wake up to a new role as the Chairperson of Kenya Medical Supplies Authority.

“The agency has been riddled with graft for the last few years, and I thank His Excellency President William Ruto for believing in me to deliver KEMSA from the mess. We will clean the mess; I can assure Kenyans. It certainly won’t be easy, so help me God.”

The official government gazette notice confirmed the appointment, stating that Irungu Nyakera would serve as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for a period of three years, effective from May 15, 2023.

President Ruto, in a recent interview, reiterated his commitment to addressing the issues plaguing KEMSA, assuring the public that he would take necessary actions, regardless of the cost, to restore integrity and efficiency to the organization.

The dismissal of the previous board chair, Daniel Rono, and the CEO, Terry Ramadhani, followed the cancellation of a significant mosquito net tender worth US$26 million by the Global Fund.

The tender was intended to supply 10.2 million long-lasting polyethylene and polyester nets for the fight against malaria, with distribution scheduled from November of this year to July of the next.

The evaluation process of the tender saw 17 bids received, with five making the cut. However, disagreements between the health ministry and the Global Fund regarding the specifications of the nets led to an amendment of the tender and subsequent extension.

The Global Fund, raised concerns about the eligibility of the selected companies, arguing that two disqualified companies should have been included while disqualifying others.

Due to these complications, the Global Fund terminated the tender and opted to handle it directly through its procurement wing,

As a result, Kenya is expected to lose substantial funding, with KEMSA missing out on a 2% procurement fee of approximately US$540,000 and an 8% warehousing and distribution charge of approximately US$2.15 million.

KEMSA’s public image has suffered further damage following an Auditor-General’s report, which highlighted inconsistencies and uncertainties regarding the agency’s inventory balance, including pharmaceutical and other stocks valued at US$123 million.

With his extensive experience spanning nearly 20 years in both the private and public sectors, Mr. Irungu Nyakera brings a wealth of expertise to his new role as the chairperson of KEMSA.

As a graduate of Stanford University, he has held leadership positions in various organizations across East Africa, including NIC Capital, GuarantCo, and Equity Investment Group.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Nyakera served as the principal secretary of the State Department of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development, where he spearheaded policy development and implemented significant changes within the government agency.

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