Economy

Repair hitches ground Prison ambulances

kamiti

An ambulance is parked at the entrance of Kamiti Maximum Prison on September 30, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

Several leased ambulances deployed to prisons are grounded due to various mechanical problems, a new audit shows.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu says the dealer, Urysia Peugeot Company, takes unnecessarily long to respond to requests for repair or replacing the vehicle spare parts after being notified by the prison’s management resulting in inconveniences to the stations in case of an emergency.

Ms Gathungu said the Principal Secretary of State Department for Correctional Services wrote a letter to the chief executive officer, Urysia Kenya Ltd raising concerns about the non-maintenance of the ambulances.

“The management of Urysia Kenya Ltd did not address the issues,” Ms Gathungu said in an audit of the State Department for Correctional Services' books of accounts for the year to June 2021.

“Further, the State Department did not pursue the matter thereafter resulting to (sic) lack of critical ambulance services in most prisons despite the existence of a valid lease agreement between the National Treasury and Urysia Peugeot Company,” she said.

Ms Gathungu said under the circumstances, the inefficiencies may affect service delivery due to the loss in the use of the contracted services.

She said a field inspection conducted in October 2021 revealed that several leased ambulance vehicles deployed to various stations were grounded due to various mechanical problems.

Urysia, which took over the Peugeot franchise, is among several auto dealers that were shortlisted in a Sh2.5 billion leasing contract to supply the National Police Service with 1,200 utility vehicles and saloon cars.

Other dealers were Toyota Kenya, Ecta Kenya which sells Subaru cars, Land Rover dealers RMA Kenya, General Motors East Africa and CMC.

In 2014, the government, which accounts for a quarter of all new vehicle sales, leased 2,700 vehicles in a Sh6.7 billion deal that mainly benefited firms like Toyota Kenya and CMC.

The government is implementing a multi-billion-shilling motor vehicle lease plan, which was first mooted in 2010, to help cut transport costs.

The leasing programme helps users of the leased cars to avoid the upfront huge capital expenditure they would otherwise incur if they opted to buy the vehicles.

In the current plan, car dealers have committed to servicing the government vehicles for a period of four years or until they clock 160,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.

The government, in return, pays a monthly, quarterly or annual fee and returns the vehicles to the dealer once the contract expires.

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