Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kenya: MPs probe Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital’s deals with Chinese companies

MPs probe Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital’s deals with Chinese companies

Updated Wednesday, August 7th 2013 at 19:25 GMT +3
KENYA: Members of Parliament put Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) on the spot after it emerged the facility signed a memorandum of Sh17 billion with two Chinese firms.

The hospital signed a deal to engage China Aerospace Construction Group to carry out upgrading and expansion of the facility on October 2012. However, this year on May 3, the country’s second biggest referral hospital entered into another deal with China Wu Yi for the same project, without cancelling the first one.
The hospital admitted that they engaged a South African firm, TECMED in May 2012, but stopped any further engagement with it after Chinese government offered to finance the multi-billion shilling project on condition that only Chinese firms are considered for the contract.
Although the tender has not been awarded, MPs have expressed concern that the project may be derailed as it emerged that the earlier memorandum was binding. The MoU with China Aerospace is said to be having a clause that says, “MTRH does not engage with any other firm”.
The legislators want to establish if the hospital sidestepped the first company and is now favouring China Wu Yi, and whether the MoU with China Aerospace won’t return to haunt the project.
Another concern is why seven senior officials accepted a seven-day trip to China facilitated by China Wu Yi, a month after signing the memorandum yet they had not engaged further China Aerospace eight months after signing an MoU.
“We want to know under what circumstances MTRH signed a memorandum with the two companies. This may end up pitting the firms against each other and may cause unnecessary delay,” Health committee chair Rachel Nyamai said.
The committee yesterday ordered the management of MTRH hospital to furnish MPs with details of the two memoranda.
The legislators put hospital CEO John Kibosia to task to explain the status of the project given the existence of the two memoranda.
The MPs wondered why the CEO led management team to China last month on an all-expense-paid trip.
“The committee may consider this trip as a bribe,” Dr Nyamai said before ordering Dr Kibosia to return to the committee on Tuesday next week.
Embakasi North MP John Gakuya also wanted the hospital boss to explain why they had technically knocked out some companies, especially those from Spain that had expressed interest in the project.
The delegation to China included Dr Kibosia, Deputy Director Finance and Administration Agunda Ochanda, Deputy Director Francis Ogaro, Radiology and Imaging Head Of Department Ezekiel Chemulwo, hospital engineer Joseph Atogo, HOD Laboratory Services Florence Tum and Project co-ordinator Silas Tum.
Dr Kibosia defended the July 1 to 9 trip, saying it was part of due diligence in determining capacities of the companies that responded to the proposal. “The visit to China was to help the hospital carry out due diligence and make evaluations of Chinese medical equipment manufacturers. The visit was also meant to enrich our conceptual requirements of a modern referral hospital,” he told the MPs.

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