The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has returned an inquiry file on the alleged theft of Covid-19 funds at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) back to the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) for further probe.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had on August 26 given EACC 21 days to conclude investigations into alleged irregular procurement and fraudulent payments at Kemsa due to public interest.
EACC forwarded the file to ODPP on September 18 for further action.
In a statement on Friday, Haji said EACC had recommended prosecution of six officials, all from Kemsa, over irregular expenditure of Ksh7.8 billion.
However, the DPP declined to charge the six individuals citing gaps in the investigations that must be addressed.
“On review, it emerged that the scope of investigations was massive, with several witnesses, entities and thousands of documents to be examined. This was achieved despite the clear time constraints. Upon conclusion of the review, the team identified key areas that need to be sufficiently covered by way of further investigations before a final decision can be made, ” the statement reads.
“Having carefully analysed the report by the Team and considering the requirements for a strong and successful prosecution, I have come to the same conclusion that the identified areas should be covered by the EACC.
“Accordingly, the inquiry file has been returned to the EACC to cover the areas identified for further investigations.”
In order to fast-track the process, and in the spirit of teamwork, the DPP said the prosecution team has been instructed to hold joint meetings with the EACC investigators so as to adequately address the identified gaps on sufficiency of evidence in accordance with the Constitution, the ODPP Act, the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, the Evidence Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, the NPP and the DTC Guidelines among others.
The DPP further said he will consider a report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu that indicated that Ksh2.3 billion was lost at kemsa due to irregular procurement.
“The Auditor General, Ms. Nancy Gathungu, on Wednesday 30th September 2020, presented to the Senate Joint Committee on Health and ad hoc Committee on Covid-19, a Special Audit Report on the Utilization of Covid-19 Funds by KEMSA. My Office has not officially received the audit report; once it does, it will be taken into consideration, ” he said.
Kemsa is accused of having procured Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at a double market price leading to the loss of billions.