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Woman in court over Sh5m Covid-19 fake tender

Police are investigating circumstances under which a businesswoman allegedly obtained Covid -19 testing kits and Personal Protective Equipment [PPEs] valued at Sh5 million from a construction firm after forging Ministry of Health tender documents.

Mercy Wanjiku alias Linda Masaka is the suspect at the centre of the fraud hatched at Afya House and is believed to have colluded with procurement officials at the ministry’s headquarters where she signed invoices after the company handed over the equipment to her associates who are at large.

Wanjiku allegedly used a forged notification letter for supply of PPEs worth Sh 37.5 million to an agent of Rocketway Construction Limited Company purporting it to be a notification for the award of a tender to supply the protective gear on May 5.

She had approached the company’s agent claiming to have won a tender to supply the PPEs including 1,000 pieces of non-contact infrared thermometers worth Sh18. 5 million and 20,000 pieces of non-powered hand gloves worth Sh19 million.

Finance the deal

The company’s director Bishar Yunis Bora approached another businessman Ibrahim Adan to help him finance the deal and they bought 1,000 pieces of the thermo guns worth Sh5.7 and handed them to Wanjiku’s associates on May 8. Three days later, the trader bought hand gloves worth Sh7.4 million.

The items were collected by Wanjiku’s associates on May 15 after she sent for them and the suspect signed delivery invoices at Afya House confirming the whole consignment had been received as per the notification letter.

Adan was shocked when he turned up at Afya House on May 18 to enquire on payments only to be informed that the tender was not genuine. He reported to DCI Parklands and Wanjiku was arrested on Monday night.

“Therefore the complainant [Adan] was assured of his payment after receiving confirmation email from the Ministry of Health headquarters,” sergeant Elias Kariuki attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations [DCI] offices in Parklands told senior principal magistrate Martha Nanzushi of Milimani law courts.

He was making an application to hold Wanjiku for 14 days to conclude investigations.

“The investigations are still ongoing are still in progress with the aim of recovery of the said items and arrest of the remaining suspects who are still at large who include officials from the Ministry of Health and the respondent [Wanjiku] would be of great assistance in enabling the investigating officer to accomplish this,” Sgt. Kariuki added.

“Releasing the respondent [Wanjiku] at this juncture would jeopardise the ongoing investigations because she is yet to lead the investigators to the recovery and arrest of the remaining suspects.”

However, Nanzushi released Wanjiku on a Sh200,000 bond but directed her to be availing herself to investigators at the Parklands DCI offices until June 5.

The DCI is investigating cases of making a document without authority, uttering a false document and obtaining goods by false pretences.