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EMBU: Covid grant probe reveals massive theft as MCAs launch investigations

An incisive forensic audit into how a Sh 80.5 Million Covid-19 Conditional Grant was spent by the County Government of Embu has been launched following reports of grand theft.

Embu County Health Committee Chairperson Muturi Mwombo (Ruguru Ngandori MCA) speaks to the media outside the Assembly buildings. They are investigating inflated face masks spending which go up to 20 times the market price. Photo/FILE

Speaker Josiah Thiriku ordered the County Assembly Committee on General Oversight to immediately take up the matter and conduct a thorough investigation and verification of records of the entire expenditure including the procurement processes and stores ledgers.

Ward Reps in a plenary sitting to deliberate on a report on the first Supplementary Budget for the 2020/2021 Financial Year declined to approve the re-appropriation of the Sh 80.5 Million conditional grant for Covid-19 mitigation saying there was no proof that such funds were spent.

Deputy Speaker Steve Simba had earlier called on the Speaker to give direction on the matter as he moved an amendment to have the request for the Assembly to supply the funds struck out of the Supplementary Budget on account of massive pilferage.

Minority Leader Masters Mwaniki blew the lid on the scam when he revealed that the health department claimed to have bought disposable facemasks at Sh 1,000 each instead of Sh 50 and seven laundry machines at Sh 1.5 Million each instead of Sh 170,000.


Muminji MCA Newton Kariuki observed that no facemasks, hand sanitisers or washing points had been given to the people by the County Government. He therefore wondered how the Sh 80.5 Million was utilised, adding that the impact of one million shillings would have been visible on the ground.

On his part, Evurore MCA Duncan Mbui accused the Finance and Health County Executive Committee Members and Chief Officers of mocking the Legislature with fictitious figures. He revealed that at one time, the officials confirmed the Sh 80.5 Million was unused, but after a week, they produced a long list of activities undertaken and items bought to fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

The MCAs unanimously supported calls to set up an inquiry into the usage of the conditional Covid-19 grant, saying the explanations given by top health docket officials were unsatisfactory. They sought to distance themselves from cleansing the questionable expenditure by declining to endorse it in the Supplementary Budget.

The leaders also noted that the Health department had formed a tendency of branding some vote heads as conditional grants to avoid scrutiny by the Assembly. They therefore declared that they would be digging into all conditional grants as part of their oversight mandate.



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