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President Kenyatta with some of his Cabinet members when he addressed the nation from State House, Nairobi on August 26, 2020. /pscu.

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Uhuru says probe at KEMSA on COVID funds must be completed in 3 weeks

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 26 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the country’s investigative agencies to accelerate investigations into the use of COVID-19 funds, to be finalised in three weeks.

Vowing that no one will be spared, the president said his government was committed to accountabilty of public funds.

“I am today directing investigative agencies seized with this matter to finalise it in 21 days,” the president said in an address from State House.

And he warned, “no one will be spared.”

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating the loss of more than Sh7 billion for COVID-19 funds in contracts issued by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) whose CEO Jonah Manjari and three other senior officials were suspended.

The president’s directive ends raging debate ignited by the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) and its leader Raila Odinga, who wants an audit conducted before an investigation of the allegations on the missapropriation of funds at KEMSA.

Deputy President William Ruto has lately engaged in a war of words with the ODM leaders, accusing them of double speak.

On Wednesday, President Kenyatta said Kenya is on a winning trajectory against the COVID-19 pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

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In 6 months battling the disease, the President on Wednesday said, the infection rate has dropped significantly from a high of 13 percent to 8 percent in August.

“This is very encouraging and it means if we keep our civic responsibility high, we have a chance to reach the 5 per cent positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organisation for a total reopening our economy and country,” the President said in a televised address from State House, Nairobi.

Even with the gains, the President cautioned against dropping the guard since the disease still poses a threat to Kenyans.

Since Tuesday, he said, 213 positive cases have been detected raising the country’s caseload to 33,016.

“We have also lost five people in the last 24 hours,” he said, raising the country’s fatalities from COVID-19 to 559. Recoveries stood at 19,296.

But of major concern, the President said, is the wave of infection that is now moving from the original hotspots of Mombasa and Nairobi- to rural villages in the counties.

“Although we have done well in our attempt to flatten the curve, this crisis has now started to increase in the counties. The new frontier of this invisible enemy is increasingly shifting to the counties and into our rural areas,” he pointed out.

He directed Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to work in conjunction with the Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya in organising a national consultative conference to review the progress made so far in COVID-19 response.

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