Sh800m Afya scandal mobile clinics remain idle as probe drags

A file photo of some of the 100 container clinic units at NYS Technical College in Miritini, Mombasa county. /ELKANA JACOB
A file photo of some of the 100 container clinic units at NYS Technical College in Miritini, Mombasa county. /ELKANA JACOB

Some 99 mobile container clinics worth Sh800 million, brought about by the Afya House scandal, will continue to lie idle at NYS yard in Mombasa.

This is despite lack of such facilities in slums and rural areas where they were to be taken to ease the agony expectant mothers endure.

They were procured more than two years ago to increase access to health services in counties.

About Sh5.2 billion was reportedly lost last year in the scandal. The heist involved manipulation of the Integrated Financial Management System in the partly paralysed Health ministry.

Health CS Cleopa Mailu said Estama Investments Ltd – contacted to supply, deliver and install the clinics – will only install the clinics if EACC investigations are complete.

Last October, EACC announced investigations into the alleged fraud had commenced, moments after internal audit report detailing the loss was leaked.

But by Thursday, the anti-graft body had not indicated if investigations had been concluded or how soon this will be done. An email sent to the commission had not been answered by press-time.

Mailu said besides delayed investigations, the government owed the company Sh200,000 as part of relocation funds for the clinics.

"Part of the component of that contract was for a particular company to place those clinics where they were supposed to be. When this process was instigated, the company has been unable to complete," he said.

"In the absence of that, we have to wait until a decision is made by investigators and then place the clinics where they are supposed to be.”

He said this when he officially opened Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops in Mombasa.

Mailu said the government decided in 2015/15 to upgrade slums in terms of providing quality health services.

"A contract was given and containerised clinics was the way. A contractor was identified and the clinics supplied," he said.

"EACC was investigating in the midst of the relocation of those clinics, towards the end of 2016."

Last October, EACC raided Ministry of Health's offices at Afya House and collected files as it stepped up hunt-down against culprits.

Deputy CEO Michael Mubea picked up files of companies mentioned, including those of Estama Investments, for scrutiny.

He promised the inquiry would be concluded in a month and the findings made public.

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But in January, The Star reported that EACC had not yet launched investigations.

Mailu saidit is not the government's wish to see the clinics idle but noted they are safe.

"Some sites are ready to receive the clinics but can't," he said.

In March, Coast regional coordinator Nelson Marwa ordered the removal of the clinics from the yard.

He said room must be created for the construction of a rehabilitation centre.

Two months later, Mailu promised the mobile clinics would be distributed to counties by the end of June. This is yet to happen.