Health CS Mailu points out ‘discrepancies’ in Afya House audit report
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has pointed out apparent discrepancies in the internal audit report that points at the alleged theft of Ksh5 billion in the Ministry of Health.
Addressing the press on Sunday, Mailu said he was aggrieved that the internal audit report leaked to the media before key Ministry officials were given a chance to respond on key issues included in the report.
“I am not happy that the document leaked before my staff could comment on the key concerns raised. We have concerns with the report and the methodology used to reach the conclusion therein. But, we know that the issue is already in the public domain; we would like to call for patience as we investigate the matter,” said Mailu.
He stated that, at the moment, there was no proof that any money was lost at the ministry, adding that all the allocations were done in adherence with set regulations.
“We have not reached a state of claiming that there was fraud or theft. We are looking at the matter. We can visualize the extent of the budget and talk about figures that exist. It is shocking that the amount noted in the audit report is Ksh.5 billion because upon evaluation of the supplementary budgets some of the budgets were slashed.”
Some of the discrepancies, the CS says, include the consideration of figures which had ultimately been slashed, while in other cases the figures were duplicated.
“The report indicated that we had a sum of Ksh800M, yet this was reduced by 530m to Ksh270. We were then given an additional 350M which internal auditor added to the Ksh800M thus double counting the same figure. The Ksh350M that we were given should be added to Ksh270 million.”
“In the same financial year, we received Ksh400M comprising of two items Ksh350M, plus another Ksh50M which as on a separate program for national referral and specialized services.”
“The Ksh400M was used for construction of hospitals, with Ksh200M being allocated to Lamu County, Ksh100M to Bungoma and Ksh200M to Nanyuki Hospital where contractors had already been awarded the tender.”
He said the supplementary allocations met all legal requirements, and went through the constitutional processes before approval.
“Both the National Treasury and Parliament gave their approval for the supplementary estimates, thus negative any doubts raised over the process. All legal requirements were complied with.”
The CS allayed queries over the Ksh265, 781, 500 that was reportedly transferred to Cooperative Bank, saying the money was meant to secure a letter of credit for one of the vendors who was supplying food from abroad.
“It was standard mode of payment for imported goods and gives supplier confirmation that once the goods had been supplied they would access their funds,” he said.
He further said: “The figures raised on expenditure against supplementary estimates are Sh515, 795, 750. This was spend on food and rations for supplements in nutrition for people with HIV/AIDs, both locally and oversees.”
“The Ksh 265 million deposited at Cooperative Bank was part of Ksh515 million with the balance Ksh249, 996, 696 meant for local purchases.”
CS Mailu further moved to calm growing storm among Kenyans over the diversion of money meant for free maternity to other use, saying the purchase of medical supplies was equally important.
“The amount that was diverted from free maternity services to purchase of media supplies is Ksh586, 491, 796.45 and not Ksh880, 053, 456.90 as mentioned in the report.”
“While this is still a case of concern since any budgetary allocations should be taken through h the parliamentary process, it is vital to note that medical supplies are equally important hence it was a case of good intention. But we are investigating this aspect,” he said.
The CS, however, stated that the disbursement and reimbursement to the counties for maternity services was done based on the budgets submitted to the government.
Mailu admitted that there was over expenditure in the Ministry, quipping that going over budget in itself is not a crime.
He said that the Ministry still owes Eskama Limited Ksh200M having paid them Ksh800M for the delivery of 100 mobile clinics to be situated in slum areas, 99 of which are at the Mariakani depot while one is in Nairobi.
On whether a company affiliated to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sister was awarded tender, the CS said that anyone in the country had the freedom to conduct business with the government.
He said that issues of conflict of interest only arise when the company is owned or affiliated to an employee in the Ministry of Health.
“The auditor did not say they were irregularly awarded the contracts. It is not in the document. Anybody can conduct business as long as there is no conflict of interest, in accordance with the Integrity Act and Public Ethics Act.”
He further promised to appoint an independent auditor “from reputable organization” to countercheck the Ministry’s books.
“On our part we will continue to affirm our commitment to shoulder the responsibility of delivering public health services and ensure Kenyans get the truth.”
His pronouncement comes as CORD leader Raila Odinga reiterated his call to President Uhuru Kenyatta to break his silence over the issue and crack down on corrupt government officials.
On Sunday, Raila lifted the lid on what he claims is another mega scandal involving SICPA Solutions that costs Kenyans up to Ksh162 billion.
Raila claimed that the company which is allegedly being investigated by Brazilian authority over corrupt dealings, has pocketed billions of shillings through revenue collected on imports.
Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Managing Director Ongwae has however refuted Raila’s saying the deal involved four firms.