HEALTH MINISTRY ON THE SPOT

Senators launch probe into use of Sh1bn Covid-19 cash

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura petitioned the House after uproar.

In Summary
  • The speaker directed the Health committee chaired by Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito to immediately investigate.
  • Last month, Health PS Susan Mochache gave a breakdown of how they spent the money.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
QUESTIONS: Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Image: MAGRET WANJIRU

Senators have opened investigations into the use of Sh1 billion Covid-19 cash by the Ministry of Health.

This follows public uproar that greeted the expenditure of the money donated by the World Bank to aid in the fight against the contagion.

Last month, Health PS Susan Mochache gave a breakdown of how they spent the money.

But on Tuesday, nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura petitioned the House to probe the use of the cash after the public raised concerns.

The speaker directed the Health committee chaired by Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito to immediately investigate the matter and report back to the House.

“In the statement, the committee should explain how the Ministry of Health hired 15 ambulances for Sh42 million translating to Sh2.8 million each for one month,” reads the statement.

The lawmakers wondered how the ministry spent Sh14.4 million to hire 30 cars, translating to about Sh40,000 per week, and demanded an explanation from the ministry.

Concerning the Sh10 million the Ministry disclosed to have used to buy tea and snacks for officers battling the pandemic, Mwaura demanded a detailed breakdown on how the cash was utilised.

“The committee should explain how Jack Ma’s donations were distributed across the country,” he added

Further, he wants an explanation on how the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) got Sh593 million for personal protective equipment (PPE).

He said the committee should also find from CS Kagwe how some Sh9 million was used to print travelers' forms, quarantine forms and buy stationery.

“The committee should explain how Sh70 million was used for communication in a month, yet media houses have given free airtime worth Sh150 million.” 

While tabling the breakdown before the National Assembly Health committee, Mochache said they spent Sh13.5 million to accommodate 30 health care workers over three months.

Sh12 million had been spent on accommodating the workers less than two months since the first case was reported on March 13.

The PS further said the ministry channeled over Sh610 million to Kenya Medical Research Institute for procurement of a range of laboratory equipment and kits necessary in the management and testing of coronavirus.

The ministry, she said, had intended to use Sh976.7 million from the World Bank money but had spent Sh1.3 billion.

“The excess expenditure will be drawn from the additional funds from the World Bank. Contracts have already been entered into for the above procurements,” Mochache said.

Edited by Henry Makori