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Economy

Former PSs claim Kariuki misled Sh63bn medical kits probe team

Sicily Kariuki
Outgoing Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The controversy over the Sh63 billion Managed Equipment Services (MES) took a new twist after two former Principal Secretaries at the Ministry of health accused Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki of misleading a parliamentary committee over the project.

Former Health principal secretaries Julius Korir and Peter Tum told the Senate Ad-hoc committee investigating the project that there was a technical team set up to oversee the implementation of the entire project.

This, however, contradicts an earlier submission made by Ms Kariuki when she appeared before the same committee and said such a team did not exist.

Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula said Ms Kariuki told them that the idea of a technical committee was irregular and strange to her.

Ms Kariuki served as Health CS between February 16, 2018 and last month. The two former PSs served in the ministry for one year each between 2017 and 2019. They told the committee chaired by Isiolo senator Fatuma Dulo that they found the committee in the ministry and left when it was still in place.

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“I found the committee already in place when I joined the ministry and left it,” Mr Tum told the committee.

The 12-member technical committee chaired by Moranga Morekwa was set up by former Health CS James Macharia on February 26, 2015 with the main task of overseeing the implementation of the MES project.

The committee, according to Mr Morekwa, had neither timelines nor terms of reference.

Mr Tum, while appearing before the committee, distanced himself from the Sh63 billion saga saying he came to the ministry when the contract had already been signed and the execution was continuing.

Mr Korir also denied responsibility in the saga saying he joined the ministry in February 2017 and his only role was in the roll-out of the programme.

The senate last year formed the ad hoc committee to investigate and establish the mystery surrounding tendering and execution of the project.

It has established that taxpayers are paying billions of shillings each year for the equipment that is gathering dust in most hospitals at the counties as there are no personnel to operate them.

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