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School milk scandal: Nairobi County paid Sh4 million extra to highest bidder

The Auditor General’s report on Nairobi County for the financial year ended June 30, 2023, has revealed shocking spending on fresh milk for early childhood development (ECD) centres across the country.

According to the report, the county entered into an agreement through the procurement framework for the supply of 333,333 cartons of 200 millilitres of fresh milk at a unit price of Sh36.

However, how the county went with the highest bidder remains questionable as during the tender process, a low bidder was willing to supply the same cartons at a cheaper price that would have saved the county Sh4,089,501.

The lowest bidder had quoted a unit price of Sh23.50 per carton of milk but was rejected for unknown reasons.

“The county could have saved Sh4,089,501 if the lowest bidder had been awarded the contract,” the report said.

The report also states that the minutes of the tender opening and the attendance register and distribution lists of where the milk was delivered to were not made available by the county for audit, which again calls into question whether the said milk reached the county’s ECD centres.

The management was cited for violating the law in the tender agreement signed between the company and the county on 21 June 2022.

The county’s documents also state that the tender attracted only two bidders, which is contrary to Section 114(c) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act of 2015, which states that a minimum of seven alternative vendors shall be included for each category.

Irregular procurement of yellow fever vaccines

The report also revealed that the county wasted millions of dollars in the procurement of yellow fever vaccines during the year under review.

Documents show that on March 22, 2023, the county paid a supplier a total of Sh11,445,000 for the supply and delivery of Yellow Fever vaccines where the county received 7,630 vaccines.

The Auditor General said the procurement process was a restricted tender and the county failed to justify why the procurement was done in this manner.

The report also states that a physical inspection of the stores carried out on October 4, 2023, shows that the vaccines were received on different dates and dispatched for use before the products were inspected and accepted, creating a risk of using untested medicines and putting the lives of citizens at unwarranted risk.