The insurance procurement scandal at Kenyatta National Hospital seems to be heating up as the whistleblower, Infinity Agency continues to write emails to the higher-ups to act after it emerged that Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) have been compromised.
BID RIGGING AND CORRUPTION IN KENYATTA NATIONAL HOSPITAL PROCUREMENT OF INSURANCE UNDERWRITING SERVICES – KNH/T/46/2021-2022
We plead for your keen attention on the matter referenced.
Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) advertised for the above tender that closed on 8/6/2021. We will clearly outline how the whole scandal chronologically unfolded. All the information given here is the actual status on the ground and is verified and verifiable.
We again state that we have and will continue to observe professionalism, ethics and objectivity throughout the matter.
PRIOR TO ADVERTISEMENT
KNH had running contracts with CIC Life Assurance Ltd for Group Life Cover. The same tender included other classes of general insurance which were awarded to other companies.
The tender was advertised in 2019 and awarded with no challenges. Contracts were to run for two years; that is 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, commencement date being April 2019 and end date March 2021.
We have however established that, just before the end of the contracts, KNH extended the contracts by three months from March 2021 to June 2021.
According to the Professional Opinion seen by us that was recommended to the CEO by the Head of Procurement for approval signed in March 2021, justification for the three months’ extension was so as to align the contract period with the financial year. KNH has several contracts for diverse services including security, cleaning, gardening services among others whose start and end dates are not aligned with the financial year shenanigan. How these insurance services contracts were the only one sensitive to the financial year period cannot be explained.
After the extension, the journey of preparing for advertisement of the new tender began. Our investigations have revealed that the new items in question were introduced by people in the insurance industry who were involved in preparation of the tender document. Two underwriters and an agent who were exposed to the KNH staff without knowing convinced KNH to include the items as mandatory in the tender document. One tender document was prepared combining both Group Life business and the general business.
Group Life business is where the turpitude and depravity is. Unknowingly, KNH was lured into adopting the scandalous criteria and blindly putting the same in the tender document. The criteria demanded that the underwriter must have made Sh100 Million profit for the last three years and Gross premium of Sh500M for the year 2020 as per IRA reports. When the IRA reports are analysed, only one company Jubilee Life Assurance Limited meets the two criteria for Life business. This was done intentionally so as to lock all other life business underwriters. See the analysis below:
The figures are derived from the IRA reports as was required in the tender document.
|APA Life Assurance Company||115,843, 000||28,684, 000||(66,752, 000)|
|ICEA Lion Life Assurance||774,360, 000||690,245, 000||600,295, 000|
|Jubilee Insurance Company||1,197,880, 000||2,198,267, 000||1,408,505, 000|
|Liberty Life Assurance Company||273,016, 000||478,613, 000||283,311, 000|
|Sanlam Life Assurance||649,621, 000||–||–|
|Britam Life||(2,207,207, 000)||4,213,789, 000||(960,370, 000)|
|Old Mutual Life Assurance||(346,154, 000)||175,825, 000||480,732, 000|
|Pioneer Assurance Company||(60,645, 000)||142,288, 000||(35,258, 000)|
|UAP Life Assurance Company||(532,751, 000)||219,708, 000||251,120, 000|
According to the above analysis, only three (3) Life underwriters will have made profits for the three years required and will pass criteria number 12. These are: Jubilee Insurance Company, Liberty Life Assurance Company and ICEA Lion Life Assurance. Yellow indicates the ones qualifying and the other colour the ones that don’t qualify Criteria no. 13 for life underwriters required that the life underwriter should have gross premiums of Kshs. 500Million. Analysis of the three (3) underwriters who pass criteria no. 12 have the following Gross premiums indicated against their names:
|Insurance Co.||Gross underwritten premiums|
|Jubilee Insurance Company||704,881, 000|
|Liberty Life Assurance Company||376,687,000|
|ICEA Lion Life Assurance||326,242,000|
Going by the analysis given above, it’s worth noting that only Jubilee Insurance Company can meet the two mandatory requirements in the market. It’s in the same that we conclude that the tender document was customized to ONLY allow Jubilee Insurance Company and no other company whatsoever to qualify for the life business. This is despite the fact that Kenya has close to thirty (30) underwriters registered for Life Business.
Several insurance companies had noticed the presence of the malicious criteria in the tender document. The companies went ahead and made enquiries requesting for revision of the mandatory requirement that formed the preliminary evaluation criteria. The companies include: Britam, Liberty, Metropolitan Canon, Kenindia and Sanlam. KNH ignored all the queries and concerns raised and never responded to any of them. They were quickly printed by the office of the Director Supply Chain Management and deleted from the email, probably assuming that the same will be deleted from the senders’ emails. Other stakeholders including agents also complained of the criteria. No response was given at all but rather promised to deal with the consequences irrespectively. Reasons why the same were included in the tender document have never been given up to now. There’s no basis at all for the profitability criteria and neither the procurement laws nor insurance nor Public Finance laws support the same. It’s therefore illegal in its mentioning.
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.
We were not able to trace where profitability lies in the above.
During tender closing/ opening, it was noted that one bidder, Geminia Insurance Limited submitted one composite document meaning that the financials attached in the tender document were for the composite company and not for the subsidiary company. All the other bidders separated the life business financials from general financials and submitted the bid documents separately. For instance, Jubilee Life Assurance Ltd submitted a separate bid from Jubilee General Insurance Ltd.
DURING TENDER EVALUATION, THE COMMITTEE NOTICED THAT THERE WERE ISSUES IN THE TENDER DOCUMENT. They immediately wrote to the office of the Head of Procurement requesting for clarification and professional advice on how to manoeuvre with the evaluation.
The issues raised were:
- That the criteria on 100Million profitability for the year 2020 was not objective but rather subjective since, under Life business, only one bidder passed and therefore making it not competitive, which would mean that more stable and competitive bidders were locked out of the tender.
- The issue of Geminia Insurance who submitted composite financials. The head of procurement was requested to advise on how the bidder would be evaluated among others.
- The tender document requested for Gross Premium. How to calculate the gross premium was given in the tender document and therefore the item was ambiguous.
Instead of officially responding to the tender evaluation queries, the management influenced the committee to ignore the issues raised and proceed to award to the already pre-determined awardees. The report was hurriedly done, forwarded after working hours, professional opinion done at the same time and approved at night of the same day when all other staff had left the hospital so as to leave the other staff unaware of what was happening.
During evaluation, we contacted KNH in effort to plead for a response but they continually ignored our concerns. At one point before the tender closed, when an underwriter visited the procurement offices, he was kept waiting for five hours and later gave up and left.
We made several complaints to both KNH and PPRA. None was responded to. We realized that KNH had promised both their agent involved and the bidders in question that they would control the situation and not bother with the complaints.
CIC Life Assurance Ltd challenged the procurement process at PPRA on 24th June 2021 exactly ten days after the tender award. KNH signed the letters of award on 14th June 2021. PPRA has never responded to the issues raised. We made several complaints subsequently but both parties played dumb. Public offices are put in place for a purpose and public officers should conduct their duties ethically and professionally.
In an effort to water down the issues raised and counter our complaints as their way of cooling down the heat, KNH management and the agent who choreographed the scandal agreed to form a pseudo mail account and masquerade as a concerned underwriter and purport that we are following up on the same because we are paid to do to so and that our concerns are baseless and aims at tainting the name of the hospital. They also negotiated with PPRA and requested PPRA to block all emails coming from us.
The email was created on 5th July 2021: email@example.com. This is the email used to counter our complaints and arrogantly respond to us, whose responses are equivocal and scanty hogwash.
This has prompted our investigations to go a notch higher and we can now authoritatively report that google gurus are on it. Preliminary investigations have unearthed that, according to google coordinate protocols, the email address used i.e firstname.lastname@example.org was registered with this Safaricom number, 0722***585.
(ATTACHED EVIDENCE). This number after investigations belongs to a Kenyan in the insurance industry who is a registered agent, one that we’ve constantly mentioned to be the choreographer and mastermind of the scandal and is involved in several others in the government including The Youth Fund that previously led to the dismissal of the former head of procurement.
The number is also traced with some KNH officers in sports clubs, parking lots and some residential places before, during and after the tender. We however note that the parties have now opted to communicate via whatsapp in fear of being tracked.
We are in the assignment of getting more information and profiles of the parties involved and will be back with more information. We won’t expose all the details at this stage.
Attached please find the following:
- evidence of the number used to register the email in question,
- evidence that PPRA blocked us from reaching them as per their agreement with KNH.
- Insurance Tender document (page 24 gives the items of interest)
We request that you take the matter seriously so as to stop the impunity and scam in KNH and the insurance industry.