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Take action against those who looted Covid billions

By Editorial - May 10th 2022


At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Kenyans were jolted by news that up to Sh7.8 billion could have been misappropriated in shady equipment procurement deals.

At the time, Covid-19 had begun to take its toll with deaths and hundreds of coronavirus cases being reported on a daily basis. Allegations of theft on a grand scale at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), therefore, understandably raised public ire.

Following the public outcry and palpable inaction on the part of our investigative agencies, President Uhuru Kenyatta in August the same year ordered these agencies to undertake investigations within 21 days and bring all those culpable to book.

Unfortunately, that is yet to happen. Even after the president's order, no one has been brought to book, despite the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission revealing in March this year that it had handed the Director of Public Prosecutions files on the Sh7.8 billion Covid-19 procurement scandal.

Why Kenyans have not seen anyone being prosecuted is incomprehensible. However, it is clear that they will not forget about this scandal anytime soon.

It is shameful that it is our development partners such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who are calling for action over this scandal. IMF has called for fresh audit of how the billions of shillings it gave to the emergency coronavirus fund were spent.

A parliamentary committee's inquiry into the alleged scandal left little doubt that there were murky dealings at Kemsa.

Needless to say, such theft of money meant to fight a pandemic costs lives. One would have expected the government to deal with this scandal with utmost seriousness teach the masterminds of the heist a lesson. But that is yet to happen.

Kenyans are tired of hearing the government talking about the evils of corruption. They want to see it smacking graft on the head with a hammer.

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