The Ministry of Health (MoH) where scandals after scandals is the order of the day since the revelations in the time of President Mwai Kibaki is as it again and no amount of Pubic Relations seems to have waned the quest by Wananchi to put this Afya House dungeon to account.
Kenyans are very bright and have not forgotten that this is the ministry where over Sh4 billion meant for HIV/AIDS and Child and Maternal Healthcare was lost.
Apart from the Sh1.3 billion largely mismanaged World Bank funds, the Ministry of Health is now on the spot over the whereabouts of 30 ventilators it purchased and claimed to have distributed to counties.
The Senate is now demanding that the ministry tables a report on the whereabouts of the additional ventilators purchased at the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The MoH has seven days to provide a report …on the whereabouts of the 30 ventilators it is said to have purchased and distributed to counties,” said the Committee chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.
This means that the ministry has until Tuesday report before the seven-member Senate committee.
Shortage and ill preparation
The country had a shortage of ventilators, with only 90 available at public health centres, highlighting the need for the additional machines.
“According to the Council of Governors, none of these additional ventilators had been distributed to counties by the time of writing of this report,” said Mr Sakaja.
Mr Kagwe, during his vetting for CS post by parliament, had said that the country is ready to fight the virus even as Kenya still allowed planes, especially China Southern Airlines to land in Nairobi that time.
Ventilators are machines that help people breathe when they cannot on their own. They are vital to Covid-19 patients who are prone to complications like pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
CS Kagwe and his Treasury counterpart Ukur Yatani have also been summoned to appear before the Senate and National Assembly Health committees over alleged misappropriation of Sh1.3 billion Covid-19 funds.
A document tabled before the Health Committee of the National Assembly chaired by Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege indicates the ministry used Sh42 million to lease 15 ambulances; Sh14.4 million to maintain and fuel 30 vehicles used by its officers across the country, translating to Sh40,000 per vehicle every week.
Furthermore, the ministry spent Sh2 million out of the Sh6 million approved for airtime for some of its 500 staff for a period of three months. the Health docket approved Sh13.5 million to accommodate 30 health care workers over a period of three months. So far, Sh12 million has been spent on accommodating the workers less than two months since the first case was reported on March 13.
MoH spent Sh70 million and a further Sh6.5 million to procure stationery. The ministry had budgeted for Sh2.5 million on stationery, a figure it has surpassed by Sh4 million, another Sh4 million was used to buy tea and snacks for various teams out of the Sh10.1 million budget.
Afya House Scandal
In 2016, Kenya lost Sh5 billion at the Ministry of Health involving diversion of funds, double payment for goods, and manipulation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS).
Top on the list of fraudulent transactions identified in the audit report was the diversion of Sh889 million meant to be disbursed to county governments to support the free maternity care programme and its use in the purchase of phantom mobile medical clinics for urban slums.
A large chunk of the money (Sh800 million) was paid to Estama Investment Limited, a company oowned by Transport CS James Macharia and his PA Irene Nanayu, to supply 100 portable medical clinics that have yet to be delivered four months after the financial year ended.
Estama was paid the money in three instalments, including Sh400 million on June 27, a transaction for which the payment voucher could not be found during the audit. Even more questionable is the fact that Estama raised a separate purchase order for Sh200 million on June 30 and got paid the same day.
With the entry of Mutahi Kagwe, the man who owns the Tell EM and TNS RMS East Africa PR firms, the looting seems to be continuing.