The government has denied claims that it hoodwinked Githunguri innovators, tasked with making hospital beds.
In a statement on Monday, President’s Delivery Unit Secretary Andrew Wakahiu said the process of procuring the beds came to a sudden stop after one of the innovators was facing “several criminal allegations.”
According to Mr Wakahiu, Mungai Gathogo, 26, was facing at least three cases related to fraud and obtaining money by pretence.
Records at the Githunguri police station indicate Gathogo has at least three pending criminal cases: OB 35/05/11/2019 and OB 64/05/11/2019 relating to obtaining money by false pretence and OB 51/21/10/2020 relating to an incident over the disappearance of the motor vehicle he had allegedly hired.
Speaking in Githunguri, Mr Wakahiu who was flanked by Gathogo further revealed that wrangles around the ownership of the firm that had first claimed to have been behind the beds further informed the Government reluctance to process the offer.
“After we visited and made the offer, then vicious arguments on the control and management of the company between the two innovators and a man who claimed to be the real owner of the firm and that he had only contracted the duo to help market the beds emerged,” he said.
The government, had, however, pledged to clear a loan of Sh3.5 million the innovators are said to have incurred during the making of the beds, but there was no evidence of work done at their workshop, Wakahiu said.
“In interviews with the media and their social media pages, Gathogo and his colleague, Joseph Muhinja, have claimed to have incurred loans of more than Ksh3.5 million ostensibly to import materials for the beds and in training and recruiting of labour. But at their workshop yesterday, there was little evidence of any activities,” Wakahiu continued.
Once the government started processing the offer, yet another complaint was filed in Nakuru where Gathogo is said to have conned another some Sh800,000.
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He spent three days in Githunguri police cells until his father refunded the amount in full.
Coming to Gathogo’s aid was Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni wa Muchomba who pleaded with the government to purchase the beds as it was normal for men in the area to get into trouble.
“If you expect to find young men from Kiambu who have no history of visiting police station, you’ll work very hard because our men, most of the times, will find themselves in police stations because of many problems and we don’t put them in the trenches. We try and rehabilitate them,” the legislator said.
In July 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government would purchase at least 500 locally manufactured beds as counties reeled under pressure to set up Covid-19 isolation units.