This is a fight that Kenya must win. We must be transparent so that when you do your business… your business succeeds not on the basis of who you know but how you do your business.
These were the exact words of President Uhuru Kenyatta in May 2019, as he declared intensified fight against corruption.
A year and two months after the promise, corruption seems to be the order of the day, not only in the state house but also deeply rooted in the first family and the President’s closest friends.
The recent revelations of the rot in the Ministry of Health without any doubt show a government rotten to the core, where family and friends of the President plunder public funds without fear.
Just last week, Foreign Affairs PS Kamau Macharia questioned the management of billions spent in the COVID-19 pandemic stating that the government’s plan on contact tracing had collapsed.
“For all the billions that have been spent on this campaign, it’s hard to imagine that at the point of contact where the disease actually happens, there is no system to make sure that we have access to proper care and the proper contact tracing is actually done to keep track of those who are not well or maybe infecting others,” PS Macharia said in a WhatsApp conversation with top government officials.
Yesterday, the PS who has now become a victim of the virus, said he did not know where to refer to people who wanted to be tested.
“I have done my own contact tracing and I have informed all the people who came in contact with me in the 10 days prior to my test and since. They keep asking me where to go for test and I don’t know what to tell them,” Macharia said.
This raises more questions than answers, when a senior government official says he “does not know”, in such a moment when close to 400 have succumbed to the virus.
Macharia’s revelations come months after the country received hundreds of billions in aid and loans to contain the deadly virus, that has brought the world to its knees.
The money includes Ksh78.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ksh108 billion from the World Bank, Ksh22.5 billion from the African Development Bank.
The European Union sent grants worth Ksh7.5 billion, on to of another World Bank’s support of Ksh6.8 billion.
Over Ksh200 billion was ready in the fight against Covid-19, but how it has been used puts to question the government’s effort in both fights, fight against corruption and fight against Covid-19.
A perfect example is that of Kilig Limited owned by 30-year old Ivy Onyango which was awarded a Ksh4 billion months after registration.
Unknown to many, the company is not owned by Ivy, she was just used as a scapegoat. The company was initially registered by Wilbroad Gatei Gachoka alongside a Chinese national Zhu Jinping, before details were changed to indicate that it was owned by Ivy.
Its post office address was P.O. Box 36814-00200 Nairobi, the same address used in another company belonging to Mr Gatei. While offloading the shares to the young advocate, Gatei also forgot to remove his Safaricom number in the contacts, according to a company search of August 3.
Wilbroad Gatei Gachoka is a brother to media personality Tony Gachoka, and a personal assistant to Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe.
After being awarded the tender, the company subcontracted Entec Technology Company Ltd to supply the PPEs, at Ksh3 billion. A profit of Ksh1 billion without doing anything was assured.
Mr Gatei was sacked as the chairman of KPCU in December 2019 after being implicated in a Ksh5 billion scandal.
Ziwala Limited, a company owned by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s relatives Ms Samantha Ngina Muthama and June Nduta Kinyua, received a tender to supply PPEs at inflated prices.
Another company Shop ‘N’ Buy Limited registered on February 14, 2020 was awarded a Ksh970 million contract to supply 100,000 PPE kits, each at an approximate price of Ksh9,000. The company was also allowed to supply another 100,000 pieces of KN95 masks at Ksh700 a piece.
The company is owned by Mr James Kipketer Chululey, who told Daily Nation that he broke no law.
Other companies that got a share of the Covid-19 billions include Wallabis Ventures Limited, owned by Ms Catherine Wanjiku Ndungu and James Njenga Ndungu (Ksh90 million), Light Up Africa Limited, owned by Ms Emma Wanjiku Maina and Martha Wanjiru Thuku (Ksh25 million), Nanopay Limited owned by Mr Ahmed Rahim Mohamud Mohammed (Ksh35 million and Medlife Biologicals Limited (Ksh230 million).
Others include Bell Industriesowned by Mr Titus Kirea Ibui and Mercy Karambu Ngeera (Ksh35 million), Abyssinia Group of Industries (AGI) (Ksh27 million), Accenture Kenya Limited (Ksh108 million)and Wanderjoy Party World Limited (catering).
In May, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe vowed to crush ‘cartels’ in the Ministry of Health, but some very senior employees of the government who were perceived to be part of the cartels refused to be transferred. Seemingly, they enjoy protection from higher authorities, and Kagwe seems to have given up.
Despite the Ethics and Ati-corruption Commission launching investigations into the Covid-19 billions, the investigations might not see the light of the day, like we have seen previously in scandals involving the first family.
In 2016, it emerged that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sister Nyokabi Kenyatta Muthama and cousin Kathleen Kihanya were among owners of companies suspected to have irregularly pocketed millions of shillings in the Ksh5.3 billion “HealthGate” or “Mafya House” scam. The case has never been resolved to date, and a repeat of the same could be happening.