MAFYA HOUSE

Health ministry scandals under Jubilee administration

#Covid-19billionnaires, Sh10 billion NHIF false claims, mobile clinics scandal, etc.

In Summary
  • In February last year, investigators said the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) could have lost more than Sh10 billion in false medical claims.
  • In October 2016, an in-house audit report at the Ministry of Health revealed that Sh5.2 billion was misappropriated.
Afya House, The Ministry of Health headquarters.
Afya House, The Ministry of Health headquarters.
Image: FILE

#Covid-19billionnaires

The Ministry of Health is yet again embroiled in a corruption scandal. The Covid-19 pandemic and massive investment of government and donor funds created a loophole for unscrupulous state officers to misappropriate funds.

By some estimates, the government has lost up to Sh40 billion through irregular tenders and diversion of essential supplies to fight the pandemic.

 

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, which is tasked with buying medicine and other supplies for the health sector, is in the spotlight for procurement irregularities. As investigations by Parliament and the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission proceed, Kemsa officials including CEO Jonah Manjari have been suspended. Also sent home are commercial director Eliud Muriithi and procurement boss Charles Juma.  

It is because of the never-ending scandals at the Health ministry that Kenyans refer to its Afya House headquarters as Mafya House – a reference to a web of cartels that never lose an opportunity to line their pockets at the expense of taxpayers.

Below is a look at some other corruption scandals that have rocked Afya House:

Sh10 billion NHIF false claims scandal

In February last year, investigators said the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) could have lost more than Sh10 billion in false medical claims. The figure was part of about Sh50 billion paid to NHIF by Treasury as capitation premiums for medical cover for civil servants, Kenya Police Service, National Youth Service and Kenya Prisons Service since 2013.

Sh1 billion NHIF tender fraud

In November 2018, close to Sh1 billion was reportedly stolen in fictitious transactions, irregular award of tenders and manipulation of systems at the national health insurer. Then CEO Geoffrey Mwangi and finance director Wilbert Kurgat were arrested for obstructing investigations.

 

Sh5.2 billion embezzled at Afya House

In October 2016, an in-house audit report at the Ministry of Health revealed that Sh5.2 billion was misappropriated. The audit questioned payments to the United Nations arm that deals with children and the world’s largest equipment maker, General Electric. Investigators said monies, including those for sanitary pads for schoolchildren, were diverted. It was the biggest scandal of the Jubilee administration at the time.

Mobile clinics scandal

In October 2016, 99 mobile clinics lay idle at the National Youth Service yard at Miritini in Mombasa, six months after they were imported from China. Estama Investments Ltd had been awarded a Sh1 billion tender to supply 100 clinics (one had been brought to Nairobi for a demonstration). Official documents showed each clinic was bought and imported at Sh1.4 million before being sold to the government at Sh10 million.

Sh63 billion Managed Equipment Services (MES) Project

In a 2015 programme to boost counties’ health capacity, the government allowed for the leasing of specialised medical equipment. Initially estimated to cost Sh38 billion, the cost rose to Sh63 billion. Counties were to pay Sh200 million every year to finance the project. But years later, some were yet to receive their equipment. It also emerged that some commodities were overpriced while others procured without the personnel to operate them. The Senate Committee on Health is finalising its probe on the scheme.

Other major scandals

Sh215 billion Eurobond Scandal

In 2016, Auditor General Edward Ouko declared that Sh215 billion from Kenya’s Eurobond funds had not been accounted for. It was two years after the government claimed the cash was allocated to ministries.

Sh9 billion NYS scandal  

In June 2018, Youth Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo-Omollo and NYS director general Richard Ndubai were suspended in connection with Sh9 billion suspicious payments at the youth service. Several court cases are ongoing, with the Asset Recovery Agency freezing several accounts of suspected beneficiaries. A previous Sh791 million scandal at NYS led to the resignation of then Devolution CS Anne Waiguru.