Forget Kemsa, theft of Covid funds in counties will shock Kenyans, Senate team says - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Forget Kemsa, theft of Covid funds in counties will shock Kenyans, Senate team says

 Nominated Senator and committee chair Sylvia Kasanga.

The amount of Covid-19 funds misspent in counties might be more shocking than the alleged theft at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency, a  Senate committee has said.

Initial investigations by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Covid-19 Situation indicate that the money could have been spent on items that are not Covid-19-related.

Committee chair Sylvia Kasanga says the details of how counties spent their allocations will shock Kenyans.

“The biggest scandals could be in the counties. That is what it looks like but we are really looking forward to the Auditor General's report to expose how the billions were used,” Kasanga said on Wednesday during her team's fact-finding mission to coastal counties.

The team wants to establish how the counties have used the Covid-19 funds. Their next stops will be Kilifi and Kwale before heading to western Kenya.

“Already, from the interactions with the doctors, you can tell there is foul play. I don’t want to say we have found it because we are still investigating,” Kasanga said.

The team has so far met Coast healthcare workers and human rights organisations.

Kasanga said counties have not been allocating any money to frontline health workers despite receiving funds.

“The allowances doctors have been getting are those that came from the National Government. What then are counties doing to motivate frontline workers? There seems to be no intervention from counties themselves other than what the National Government is doing,” she noted.

The counties received Sh13.1 billion, according to the Controller of Budget with only Sh3.43 billion absorbed. The highest spenders are Nakuru, Wajir and Kiambu counties.

Bomet, Embu, Lamu, Marsabit, Nairobi, Kirinyaga and Mandera did not report any expenditure on Covid-19.

Mombasa did not provide a report on the utilisation of its Covid-19 funds.

The committee is looking forward to the Auditor General’s report to establish if the billions sent to counties have been used properly, Kasanga said, adding: “From our interaction with doctors, you get a sense that all is not well.” 

She downplayed reports that her committee will politicise the matter.

“I have a seven-man committee of very strong individuals who only care about the truth. In the end Kenyans will see the truth, and I’m sure they can see through what is politicised,” she explained.

Her committee requested for a special audit of Covid-19 funds through two letters to Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o on August 4.

Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye said the special audit on the national and devolved governments and county budget implementation reports should cover March 13- July 31.

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