, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 30 – Health Cabinet Secretary Dr Cleopa Mailu has dismissed claims that firms named in the Sh5 billion alleged scandal at the ministry were favoured, following revelations that some are owned by individuals related to the President.
Mailu on Sunday said that all Kenyans have a right to transact business with the government unless there is direct conflict of interest as clearly stipulated by law.
“As far as I am concerned anybody can transact business with any institution as long as there is no conflict of interest, and I have looked at the Public Ethics Act, I have looked at the Integrity Act of the Public Servants the extent to which we can define conflict of interest, those people who are doing business with the ministry they have a right to do so and I don’t see a conflict of interest,” he said.
Mailu was responding to questions from reporters that some of the companies—some associated with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s relatives or close friends were favoured in getting lucrative contracts at the Ministry of Health which is has come under sharp focus since last week.
Some of the companies include Sundales International Limited whose Managing Director Kathleen Kihanya, a close relative to the Head of State, admitted receiving Sh41 million for a supplies contract.
Mailu, who addressed the second press conference since the matter came to the public domain, said he will appoint an independent auditor to re-look at all contracts at the ministry in the 2015/16 financial year.
While promising to continue releasing information and clarifying the contents of the leaked report, the CS said the information he had received by Sunday showed that there was no money lost.
“From the information I have today, I have not come across any loss of money. What I have seen is that projects have been completed,” he explained as he said he couldn’t understand the Sh5billion ‘floated’ figure alleged to have been lost.
He said counties have been fully paid during the 2015/2016 financial year.
Estama Investments Ltd which received Sh800 million had supplied 100 clinics which according to Mailu, 99 were in Mariakani and one had been delivered to Nairobi as a demo.
He said the ministry was yet to release Sh200 million to Estama as agreed in the contract.
It was his argument that the report leaked to the public was misconstrued as there was no differentiation made between budget estimates and actual expenditure as well as the report lacked a proper explanation by an auditor.
Whereas the public continues to raise eyebrows over the alleged scandal, Mailu was equally concerned that an internal audit report was leaked out without the correct information on it.
He said he intends to institute an investigation to establish how the internal document was leaked.
Mailu will in the coming week appear before the committees of the Senate and National Assembly to answer questions arising from the alleged scandal.
On Monday, the CS said he would make a detailed presentation to explain the figures contained in the leaked report and the actual budget and expenditure of the ministry.
Deputy President William Ruto, who spoke at a public function separately, also defended President Kenyatta’s sister saying she had every right to transact business with the government.
“What is wrong with that,” Ruto posed, “she is a woman and that is a category listed under the AGPO therefore I don’t understand those saying she should not do business with the government because she is the President’s sister,” he said.
The involvement of the President’s relatives in the in contracts with the Health Ministry hit newspaper headlines on Sunday, culminating to debates on social media where many questioned why Kathleen’s firm was awarded a contract as an AGPO beneficiary yet she is not disadvantaged.
But Ruto has told the critics off, saying their arguments is not supported by legal provisions.
“So are you saying the President should not have a sister who is a woman, he should have a sister who is a man,” he said, “it doesn’t make sense at all.”