A whistleblower at KNH has fingered Jubilee Insurance Company for introducing new terms to a tender for the provision of insurance services at Kenyatta National Hospital, which placed it in a position to win.
The criteria read, the underwriter must have a gross profit of 100million each year for the last 3 years (2020, 2019 & 2018) as per IRA reports”, the whistleblower by the name Infinity Agency wrote of the tender Procurement of Insurance Underwriting Services, KNH/T/46/2021-2022.
The revelations are contained in an email that CCed the who is who of the industry, also alleged that this was possible because “Jubilee Life Assurance Ltd who were introduced to each other by an insurance agent (who is related to the Head of Procurement in KNH and come from the same place) and have previously fixed several deals together according to the agent)”.
According to the whistleblower, the clause was introduced so as to knock out all other bidders in Life underwriting services and only pave way for Jubilee Life assurance Ltd who would later win the said tender.
The KNH was later put to task to reveal the legal basis for the criteria, but the bidders waited for 3 weeks to no avail.
KNH procurement is said to have ignored all protocols and rules and never issued any addendum to the Terms of Reference.
“They ignored all our concerns and never issued any addendum, but went ahead and awarded the tender. All the queries went unanswered. The general definition of Gross Premium is “The revenue of a company after it accounts for what had to be paid out to return that revenue, meaning it is the amount of money actually earned. How to calculate gross profit: Gross Profit = Total Revenue – Total Cost. IRA reports only provide for Profit before tax and profit after tax. How this issue was treated in the tender evaluation remains a mystery”, said the whistleblower.
We kindly request for your urgent action so as to end the impunity and outright corruption. – Infinity Insurance Agency
It is not the first time Jubilee Insurance is mentioned in a bribery scandal involving tenders.
Claims of bribery to the authorized industry watchdog
Ambrose Kinuthia, the founder of Infinity Insurance Agency (The whistleblower) further stated, “It’s in the public domain that KNH bosses have assured the agent and the underwriter who was awarded the Life Insurance business that they will handle PPRB staff and that no complaint will be successful. As of now, we are aware that CIC Life Assurance Co. Ltd have already challenged the procurement process with PPRA/Public Procurement Review Board (PPRB) and we are equally aware that KNH bosses who have their cuts already negotiated and assured are working day and night to influence the decision of the Review board, and that they are rushing to sign the contracts so that payment can be done urgently even as complaints are put every day”.
Mr Kinuthia had written the following email to Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPRB).
PPRA & PPRB
We report to you the above subject matter whereby KNH (Kenyatta National Hospital) advertised for Procurement of Insurance Underwriting Services, KNH/T/46/2021-2022 on 27th May 2021 that closed on 08/06/2021. We noted that two items in the tender document and specifically the qualifying threshold for Life underwriting business were intentionally introduced in the tender document for this year so as to only allow one underwriter, who is the only one who meets the threshold to qualify for the tender.
The items are:
- Preliminary criteria no. 12 , The underwriter must have a gross profit of 100million each year for the last 3 years (2020, 2019 & 2018) and,
- Preliminary criteria no. 13 life underwriters must have gross premiums of Kshs. 500Million for the year 2020.
The item of profitability coupled with Gross premium of Kshs. 500 Million were put as mandatory in the tender document to lock out all other Life business underwriters and only allow Jubilee Life assurance Ltd win the tender.
Section 55 of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 on eligibility to bid states that a person is eligible to bid for a contract in procurement only if the person satisfies the following criteria:
(a) the person has the legal capacity to enter into a contract for procurement or asset disposal; (b) the person is not insolvent, in receivership, bankrupt or in the process of being wound up; (c) the person, if a member of a regulated profession, has satisfied all the professional requirements; (d) the procuring entity is not precluded from entering into the contract with the person under section 38 of this Act; (e) the person and his or her sub-contractor, if any, is not debarred from participating in procurement proceedings under Part XI of this Act; (f) the person has fulfilled tax obligations; (g) the person has not been convicted of corrupt or fraudulent practices; and (h) is not guilty of any serious violation of fair employment laws and practices.
As we have previously indicated, these two items in question were introduced by an agent in agreement with the underwriter who convinced KNH bosses after discussing their share.The same agent is lying to unsuspecting accounting officers and Heads of Procurement who seem not to properly understand the insurance business and at times, misadvising them on matters insurance which later backfires and leaves them in serious problems. The Fact of the matter is that the items are unlawful and contravene the provisions of all the procurement, public finance and insurance laws. Eligibility of tenders is clearly and precisely outlined in the above mentioned section 55 of the procurement Act.
We would also want to bring to your attention that the same issues were raised by the KNH Tender Evaluation Committee who noticed the weirdness of their inclusion into the tender document. The committee would immediately write to the Head of Procurement requesting for guidance on how to handle them since they were very subjective and locked out all the other bidders in the Life business.
The issues raised by the evaluation committee were not responded to but instead the committee was silenced and assured of their share. Other members of the committee who tried to enquire further were intimidated and blackmailed.
It’s also worth noting that we, and other insurance stakeholders raised these issues way before the tender closed. Underwriters, also, some of whom participated and others who chose not to participate in the tender, also raised issues both in soft and in print. All those issues and queries raised were ignored and went unanswered. Negligence and lack of professionalism at the highest.
As at now, the tender has already been awarded and KNH chose to communicate to all other bidders who participated and leave out the current service provider so that they may NOT know the results and therefore fail to challenge the procurement process with the Procurement Review Board: the window of which expires tomorrow 28/06/2021.
The issues of negligence highlighted are so unfortunate and we call upon the authority and all other regulatory bodies to take the matter seriously and deal with the scam once and for all.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
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