Troubled Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is splashing more than Sh45 million every month to pay staff who were sent home to pave the way for a restructuring that has completely failed to take place.
Kemsa spends Sh90 million to pay salaries for its 912 employees but half of the number is idling at home after the board made a decision to stop them from working and restructure the agency.
New KEMSA boss, Terry Ramadhani, told National Assembly’s Health committee that the more than 400 workers who were directed to work from home last year had obtained court orders requiring the agency to pay them full salaries, allowances and benefits.
Ms Ramadhani also told MPs that the employees had filed eight cases, six seeking to stop the restructuring that will see hundreds of staff laid off.
“We are paying about Sh90 million monthly to all our employees, including those who are working at home. We intended to have a staff complement of only 378 but those we sent home moved to court and stopped the entire exercise,” Ms Ramadhani told MPs.
Kemsa is undergoing changes in a bid to redeem its image and improve the accountability of its staff after being plagued by strings of looting scandals.
In 2021, the agency fired its entire workforce as it worked to implement a new organizational structure introduced in the wake of the Covid-19 kits purchase scandal.
“They stopped us at the time we had issued notice to declare redundancies. We have no option but to pay them their salaries pending the conclusion of the case.” she added.
Ramadhani said that a section of the staff is working from home while others do not work at all but are earning salaries.
“Those we sent home were believed to be involved in sabotage. As you said, internal sabotage is worse than an open rebellion,” Ramadhani said.
Kemsa was expected to advertise 378 jobs last November but the hiring process was blocked by a section of its staff. But audit report has also revealed that it more than doubled its required staff size, underlining the nature of wastage at the agency.
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