NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 27 – The Council of Governors has called for speedy investigations on the latest scandal at the Ministry of Health where up to Sh5 billion is reported to have been misappropriated.
This follows revelations in an interim audit report showing that the money may have been misappropriated through payments on projects not approved in the ministry’s supplementary budget of 2015/16 financial year.
In a statement, the Council of Governors wants the probe extended to claims that about Sh1.6 billion intended for vaccines was also misappropriated by senior Ministry of Health officials in unauthorized payments.
Although the auditors have complained of difficulties in obtaining information, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has assured that his ministry is open to scrutiny on all funds allocated to it and will fully cooperate with the auditors.
“The ministry wishes to assure the public that it’s treating the interim internal report with the seriousness it deserves and it is open to internal and external scrutiny to ensure transparency and proper utilization of allocated funds,” he said in a statement issued soon after the Business Daily published contents of damning audit report that has shocked the public.
On Thursday, the Council of Governors said that County Governments will find it difficult to account for funds allocated for health, while claiming that much of it is channeled to bank accounts of individuals at the county level.
“We wish to notify the development partners not to expect counties to account for programme funds channeled through the MOH for county functions,” they asserted.
They specifically took issue with the national government’s failure to fully devolve health functions, making it difficult for counties to manage resources and personnel seconded to them and resulting to persistent strikes by doctors and nurses.
Doctors have lately downed tools in various counties—including Nairobi, Machakos and Nyeri to protest delayed pay and poor working condition.
Governors also said they were appalled, “at the reports that the storage facilities run by the National Government have been abandoned and are not managed as per their own standards.”
“We dare add that the same predicament has befallen the blood banks. To save the lives of Kenyans, Counties have resolved to invest in the blood transfusion centres because it has become clear that the National Government cannot be relied upon to guide this important issue.”
The report unearthed what appears to be similar to the mega scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS) where the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) was infiltrated and payments made to dubious companies illegally.
The audit at the health ministry shows that about Sh800 million is said to have been paid to Estama Investment Limited to supply 100 portable medical clinics but four months after the financial year ended, but not a single clinic has been supplied.
The company was allegedly paid in three installments the first being on June 27 where they paid Sh400 million, according to the audit report quoted in the newspaper.
Another company said to have received the diverted funds is Esaki Limited, associated with the former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Phillip Kinisu who resigned after pressure of conflict of interest at the agency.
The company allegedly received Sh150.1 million.
The report further reveals millions of diverted public funds that jeopardize the free health maternity programme.