Top officials in the Jubilee Government are on the spotlight for reportedly bungling the Ksh63billion Managed Equipment Service (MES) project.
In a jarring report by the Senate Ad-hoc committee, the names of serving and former officials accused of making Kenyans lose billions of shillings in the deal that the committee terms a criminal enterprise, appear.
“In its inquisitorial capacity, the Ad-Hoc committee finds that various and several public officers and public institutions acted or omitted to act in the inception and execution of the MES project that caused the government to spend inordinate and unjustifiable public resources on the project. Consequently, the Committee recommends a thorough investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation and to report their findings and action taken to the Senate within six months.” The report read.
According to the committee chaired by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo, the original sin was the irregular conversion of the MES Project to a public procurement process.
This conversion was not in the public interest because under a PPP, the total cost of the project including infrastructural support was to be Ksh.4.3 billion over a period of 10 years.
This translated to roughly Ksh.31 million per county per year.
After the conversion however, counties have been paying Ksh.95 million per county per year between 2014/15 to 2017/18; Kshs 200 million between 2018/2019 and Ksh 131,914, 893 for between 2019/2020 and 2020/21 for the project.
For this, the committee squarely lays the blame on Transport CS James Machari- who was then serving in the health docket- his PS Fred Sigor and Nicholas Muraguri who was serving as director of medical services.
“The MES Project was varied from a PPP initiative to a public procurement process under unclear circumstances. The Office of Auditor General was unable to find any evidence of a written policy to justify the shift from a PPP model to a MES project under public procurement process.” The committee notes.
The report indicates that the ministry of Health unilaterally changed the mode of implementing the project from a PPP to a public procurement through a letter dated June 22, 2015, Ref. No. MOH/MI/4/10/2/(49) to the National Treasury.
There was no evidence or any Policy paper that was presented before the Committee to explain the sudden shift from a PPP to public procurement process.
Former Health CS Dr. Cleopas Mailu, (now Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN), Muraguri and former PS Khadija Kasachaoun have also been mentioned for changing the project and increasing the amount paid by counties from Ksh 65 million to a whopping Ksh 200M per county per year.
Water and Sanitation CS Sicily Kariuki has not been spared either, and has been blamed for irregularly terminating a contract between the Health Ministry and the Information Communication Technology (HCIT) Company.
‘The Committee takes cognizance of the multiple egregious violations of the above mentioned acts of law by the officials in the Ministry of Health and in particular, CS Sicily Kariuki and Mr Moranga Morekwa,” read part of the report.
The company was also meant to roll out an ICT system to interlink all hospitals that benefited from the MES major component of the project.