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Monday, March 27, 2017

Wabukala to start probe into corrupt health cartels

New Anti Corruption boss Eliud Wabukhala being sworn in by Chief register Anne Amadi on January 23,2017./JUDICIARY
New Anti Corruption boss Eliud Wabukhala being sworn in by Chief register Anne Amadi on January 23,2017./JUDICIARY

Details of former ACK Archbishop Eliud Wabukala’s first assignment are out: To stop the corrupt health cartels ripping off Kenyans by overpricing medicine and medical equipment.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chairman yesterday said the cartels will be identified, investigated and prosecuted.

His speech was read by EACC commissioner Rose Mughoi when the commission launched a review into the pricing of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies.

The probe will be completed in 60 days.

“The high cost of medical supplies exposes whole populations to huge cost burdens that block access to healthcare,” Wabukala said.

The investigation comes barely six months after Kenyans reportedly lost billions of shillings through overpriced medical equipment and non-pharmaceutical supplies at the Ministry of Health.

Health CS Cleopa Mailu, who attended the launch in Nairobi, said the EACC probe has come at the right time.

Make medical supplies affordable

The review is expected to identify loopholes that corrupt people exploit to overprice the supplies, both at the acquisition and dispensing stages.

“In such an environment, those who attempt to circumvent the systems will be easily identified and become subjects of investigation and prosecution,” Wabukala’s speech states.

The EACC will make recommendations on how to seal the loopholes within 60 days.

Mailu said the public already knows pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical commodities are overpriced.

He urged key players to participate with an open mind to enable the EACC to come up with recommendations that can be implemented.

“I believe the EACC will look at it broadly so that the report will give us information, which can inform policy strengthening and also the need to change practices within the sector to inject efficiency and reduce wastage of resources,” Mailu said.

Anti-graft agency CEO Halakhe Waqo said certain pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies are procured at high prices, which translate into high costs for consumers.

“At the end of the exercise, a report will be issued to the Ministry of Health with recommendations on how to seal the identified loopholes, avenues and opportunities for corruption. Thereafter, EACC will work with the Ministry of Health and various stakeholders to ensure that the recommendations are implemented,” he said in a speech read by deputy CEO Michael Mubea.


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