As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world economically and socially. some businesses men and women are reaping big and perhaps hoping the pandemic rages on.
In Kenya, billions of shillings have flowed and the firms — at both the national and county levels — that got paid, in a supplies frenzy that has created several Covid-19 dollar millionaires.
On of the beneficiary is Uhuru Kenyatta’s Ms Samantha Ngina Muthama who together with her partner June Nduta Kinyua have minted millions.
Their company Ziwala Limited received a piece of Covid-19 billion.
It got an Sh84 million contract to supply 120,000 pieces of KN95 face masks, also at the inflated price of Sh700 apiece.
According to the Nation Ms. Ngina is one of the business people who chattered planes to China to physically fly in Covid-19 medical supplies.
And Ms Ngina is not new to minting money from medical supplies. She and her mother were involved in the infamous Afya House scandal.
Accorting to Daily Nation Kenya received Sh78.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to address the pandemic.
Then the World Bank wired Sh108 billion to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), as both budgetary support and extra resources to help fight the deadly viral infection.
Additionally, The African Development Bank also joined the fundraising effort, sending Nairobi a Sh22.5bn boost as concessional loan. The European Union topped this up with an additional Sh7.5bn in form of grants.
In just under 60 days, Kenya had already secured Sh223 billion as part of its Covid-19 war chest.
And so to lucky companies, mainly connected to cronies and relatives of who and who in government the pandemic has been more of a blessing.
In the Nation report, 12 firms were awarded contracts worth Sh3 billion by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) to deliver items that were not covered by the state agency’s 2019/20 approved budget as at June 4, 2020, with some multimillion-shilling irregular bids going to friends and well-connected individuals.
The Covid-19 pandemic also gave some government ministries and counties the perfect cover to break procurement laws, and order goods worth billions of shillings in bulk from little known companies and briefcase entities, some of which had no capacity to deliver.
Wanderjoy, a company associated with Jubilee Party donor has been providing catering services to Statehouse and has now extended its clientele base to the Interior ministry, serving tea and snacks to police officers manning roadblocks during Covid-19 curfew and lockdown hours.
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It has also been supplying mobile toilets to the police roadblocks.
The company, which is owned by Mr Isaac Maina Wandere Kiboi and his wife and children, made its mark supplying tents to the Jubilee Party during campaigns.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only multiplied his fortunes given that his services have been sought by almost all the critical departments engaged in the fight against coronavirus.
And catering services do not come cheap. In just one month into the crisis, a small team at the Health ministry had consumed tea and snacks worth Sh4 million.
Other firms that have landed multi-million-shilling contracts are Abyssinia Group of Industries (AGI), like others, was awarded a contract to supply 30,000 pieces of N95 face masks at a cost of Sh900 each. This will see the company make Sh27 million.
Bell Industries, which is owned by a Mr Titus Kirea Ibui and Mercy Karambu Ngeera, is also on the list of suppliers, after it got a tender to supply 15,000 PPE kits at a cost of Sh135 million, and 5,000 infrared thermometers at Sh10,000 a piece.
In total the company would supply goods worth Sh185 million.
Medlife Biologicals Limited was handed two tenders worth Sh230 million to supply 200,000 KN95 masks and 20,000 disposable masks.
Nanopay Limited also benefited from Kemsa’s flawed procurement process and this has put its top executives in the cross hairs of the EACC. The company, which is owned by a Mr Ahmed Rahim Mohamud Mohammed, got a tender to supply 50,000 pieces of KN95 face masks at Sh35 million.
Then there was Light Up Africa Limited, owned by Ms Emma Wanjiku Maina and Martha Wanjiru Thuku. It got a Sh25-million contract to supply 50,000 pieces of sanitiser in 500ml units.
.Also on the list is Wallabis Ventures Limited, owned by Ms Catherine Wanjiku Ndungu and James Njenga Ndungu. The firm got a Sh90-million contract to supply 10,000 PPE kits.