President Uhuru Kenyatta has given investigative agencies in the country 21 days to complete investigations into alleged misappropriation of Covid-19 funds at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
In a state of the nation address on Wednesday, the head of state acknowledged that investigations led by the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) are ongoing but said they must be expedited due to public interest surrounding the matter.
The agency is accused of having procured Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at a double market price.
Already, KEMSA CEO Jonah Mwangi Manjari, Head of Procurement Charles Juma and Commercial Director Eliud Mureithi have been suspended to pave way for a probe into the fraud allegations.
A recent investigative report by NTV indicated that the state had lost at least Ksh43 billion of donor funds meant for Covid-19.
The alleged embezzlement of funds meant to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic has elicited mixed reactions with Deputy President William Ruto saying perpetrators should be brought to book.
The DP accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of doublespeak over calls for audit first before investigative agencies can probe the theft allegations.
Yesterday, the National Assembly gave Auditor General Nancy Gathungu 60 days to conduct a forensic audit on the expenditure of COVID-19 funds.
According to the MPs, the audit on the expenditure of billions received from different organizations including the Rapid Credit Facility of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank should focus on procurement, warehousing and distribution of essential medicines including personal protective equipment (PPE’s) with a view to confirming whether the expenditures were incurred lawfully and in an effective way in line with Article 227 of the Constitution.
“The general objective of the forensic audit is to identify the types of fraud, corruption and other financial improprieties if any, quantifying the amount of loss; determining who was involved, when it began, why it was possible to perpetuate it, and how it was concealed; and reporting the findings with supporting evidence, ” said James Opiyo Wandayi, the Public Accounts Committee Chairperson.
Wandayi said the committee expects to receive an interim report within the first thirty days of the assignment and, thereafter, fortnight progress reports and the final report by the end of the task.