STERN WARNING

Governors, officials cautioned against embezzling Covid-19 funds

Suppliers taking advantage of the emergency to increase prices won't be spared

In Summary

• Governors and public officials handling the funds must be ready to account for every shilling spent.

• Officials who award lucrative tenders to their relatives and friends will not be spared either.

EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak.
EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak.
Image: COURTESY

The anti-graft agency has warned governors and officials charged with managing Covid-19 funds that prompt action will be taken against them if they misappropriate the cash.

The Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission said those who award lucrative tenders to their relatives and friends will not be spared either.

Chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak said they will also crack the whip on suppliers who will take advantage of the situation to increase the prices of goods or those who supply substandard products.

 
 

“This is a message to the county governors and others involved that we are monitoring how the fund is going to be spent,” Mbarak said.

He cautioned them not to take advantage of procurement under the guise of emergency to enrich themselves to the disadvantage of the intended beneficiaries.

“As a commission, we are alive to the emergencies posed by this pandemic but I want to be categorical that procurement rules must be followed to the letter,” he said.

The CEO maintained that governors and public officials handling the funds must be ready to account for every shilling spent.

He said all procurement laws and regulations must be adhered to as per the Constitution, Public Procurement Act and Public Finance Management (PFM) Act. 

Mbarak spoke on Tuesday while presenting the commission’s Sh1.2 million donation to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Board at KICC. He was accompanied by the agency's vice-chairperson Sophia Lepuchirit.

EACC is investigating officials of the Bungoma county government for allegedly buying empty jerry cans at Sh10,000 each.

 
 

The commission is also probing Kilifi county officials over suspected embezzlement of funds meant to fight the virus.

“Shortcuts in procurement will not be tolerated by this commission at a time the government has reorganised its budget including suspending its key development projects like the Big Four so that it can get funds to deal with the pandemic,”  Twalib said. 

Covid-19 Fund Board chairperson Jane Karuku, who received the donation,  said the fund had received Sh1.3 billion from well-wishers.

“We will start spending the cash this week on the vulnerable persons as well as the PPEs for the frontline soldiers. I also want to urge the well-wishers to keep on sending their donations,” she said.