Dubai Royal Family Counting Losses in Botched Multibillion Nairobi Deal

  • A member of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Royal Family, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, has been roped in the multibillion botched deal to supply one million Russian Covid-19 vaccine to Kenya. 

    According to media reports, Arugulf Health Investments, a Dubai firm linked to the Emirati Royalty, had secured the contract with Kenyan company Dinlas Pharma.

    The deal to supply the Sputnik V vaccine was abandoned after the Kenyan government realised that the doses had not come from the Russian government as per the agreement. 

    An undated file image of Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
    An undated file image of Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

    This was after 75,000 doses had arrived in Nairobi on Monday, March 22, which led to the government blocking the vaccines from being used at a time when the country was experiencing surges in Covid-19 cases. 

    Reports by the Moscow Times indicated that Kenya was the sixth country that had found evidence that the resale rights of the vaccines had been awarded to Arugulf and Maktoum companies. 

    Both companies are reportedly linked to al-Nahyan, UAE’s National security adviser and brother of UAE President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

    The deal also indicated that Dinlas Pharma paid almost twice the set price stipulated in Russia for the vaccine- Ksh1,998 per dose against Russia’s factory price of Ksh1,074 per dose. 

    The news comes on the backdrop of Kenya securing a Ksh14 billion loan from World Bank as well as Ksh7.3 billion as per the supplementary budget.

    This, according to the Health Ministry, would aid Kenya in fighting off the vaccine in order to curb the infection rate.

    The purchase of the vaccines was a move initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in order to achieve the Health Ministry’s target of inoculating at least 10 million Kenyans by December 25, 2021. 

    “Using these vaccines and others in the pipelines, this is how we will vaccinate over 10 million Kenyans by Christmas 2021 and 26 million by end of 2022,†Uhuru stated in a previous State of the Nation address. 

    Further, Dinlas Pharma was also on the spot over the deal with the media questioning how the Sputnik V vaccine was brought into the country. 

    The firm, through their lawyer Donald Kipkorir, took issue with a particular publication from Nation which purported to claim that the botched deal resembles the Kemsa tender scam.

    Dinlas Pharma sought Nation to pull down the article as well as issue an apology over the issue.

    The Nation Centre building in Nairobi's Kimathi Street where the Nation Media Group offices are located. Monday, October 21, 2019
    The Nation Centre building in Nairobi’s Kimathi Street where the Nation Media Group offices are located. Monday, October 21, 2019
    Simon Kiragu