Mailu to face Se­nate Health Com­mit­tee over Sh3.2bn queries at Afya House

Com­mit­tee chair­man Wil­fred Machage says they can­not com­ment on the mat­ter based on me­dia re­ports. Says team needs to get the facts right

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Parliament - CHARLES MGHENYI @CharlesMghenyi

Health Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Cleopa Mailu will ap­pear be­fore the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Health to­mor­row over the al­leged mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of Sh3.2 bil­lion at Afya House.

Com­mit­tee chair­man Wil­fred Machage on Fri­day said they have sum­moned Mailu to an­swer ques­tions over pos­si­ble fraud. He was speak­ing at the Flamingo Ho­tel in Mom­basa.

The story was bro­ken by the Busi­ness Daily two weeks ago.

The Ju­bilee govern­ment is grap­pling with a num­ber of cor­rup­tion cases, in which Kenyans have lost bil­lions of shillings, among them the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice saga, where Sh1.6 bil­lion is said to have been stolen by un­scrupu­lous busi­ness­peo­ple.

Former Devo­lu­tion Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Anne Waig­uru and busi­ness­woman Josephine Kabura were ques­tioned last week by the Na­tional As­sem­bly Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee over the theft.

Machage urged Kenyans to be pa­tient and let agen­cies as­signed to in- ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions at the Health min­istry fin­ish their work.

He said the Ethics and Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion, the Na­tional As­sem­bly and Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice are con­duct­ing par­al­lel in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Last Thurs­day, Mailu was ques­tioned by EACC de­tec­tives at In­tegrity Cen­tre about pro­cure­ment of goods at the Health min­istry.

The EACC also ques­tioned Health PS Ni­cholas Muraguri about pro­cure­ment is­sues ex­posed by the in­ter­nal au­dit at the min­istry.

“The Se­nate can­not com­ment on this mat­ter based on me­dia re­ports. We need to get the facts right. So far the only thing we can say is that the CS will ap­pear be­fore the com­mit­tee on Tues­day,” Machage said.

DUE DILI­GENCE

He said there should be due dili­gence in han­dling cor­rup­tion mat­ters. “What is in the pub­lic do­main might be fac­tual or not. Let us in­ter­ro­gate the right peo­ple to es­tab­lish if at all money was em­bez­zled,” Machage said.

He said the com­mit­tee will probe the au­dit report show­ing money may have been mis­ap­pro­pri­ated through pay­ments for un­ap­proved projects in the min­istry’s sup­ple­men­tary bud­get.

Se­nate Speaker Ek­wee Ethuro said the mat­ter will be dis­cussed in the Se­nate in the next 14 days af­ter a report is tabled by the Health Com­mit­tee.

“Machage and his team have as­sured us that in the next 14 days there will give us a con­clu­sive report on that mat­ter so that the is­sue can be dis­cussed be­fore the House,” he said.

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto has said the Ju­bilee govern­ment faces un­fair crit­i­cism over the pos­si­ble loss of funds at the min­istry.

Speak­ing in Trans Nzoia county on Satur­day, he said own­ers of com­pa­nies men­tioned in the au­dit report have a right to carry out le­git­i­mate trans­ac­tions so they should not be con­demned un­fairly.

Ruto said the au­dit report was ini­ti­ated by the govern­ment be­cause it does not sup­port cor­rup­tion.

He said the ques­tion should be the le­gal­ity of the busi­ness the com­pa­nies trans­acted, not why they in­volved them­selves in the busi­ness.

The DP said those found cul­pa­ble will face the law.

THE EACC HAS QUES­TIONED MAILU AND PS NI­CHOLAS MURAGURI

/JOHN CHESOLI

Mom­basa Health chief of­fi­cer Khadi­jah Shikely, Se­nate Speaker Ek­wee Ethuro and Se­nate Health Com­mit­tee chair­man Wil­fred Machage at the Flamingo Ho­tel in Mom­basa on Fri­day

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