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Governors want EACC to investigate disputed medical equipment deal

By Steve Mkawale | June 12th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The row between the national government and governors over the Sh38 billion health equipment scheme has taken a new twist.

A day after declaring they would sign the deal, the county chiefs have written to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to probe the deal.

In the letter dated June 10 and signed by the Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Peter Munya (Meru), the governors want the anti-graft agency to investigate whether the Ministry of Health followed due process as provided for by the Public Finance Management Act.

"The purpose of this letter is to request your esteemed office to follow up on this issue and confirm all governance systems have been followed as provided by the law and that the contractual agreements meet economic and ethics rules and other laws as laid out in the Constitution," read part of the letter addressed to EACC Chief Executive Halakhe  Waqo.

Noting they have been under pressure from the national government to sign the deal, Munya said investigations would ensure that governors were not held responsible for any misdeed related to the project.

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Earlier, Munya had told The Standard in a telephone interview that the council had written to the Office of the Auditor General to audit the entire process.

In his one page letter, Munya said the issue has generated a lot of media and public attention and that the national government has neglected to make available the main contact with contractors providing the equipment and other services for the project.

"The national government has, however, forwarded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to each county to sign. Once they sign, the MoU becomes binding and effective," read the letter in part.

Munya noted that the MoU is similar for all the counties and the list of equipment is the same.

"The entire process has been undertaken by the Ministry of Health without consultation with the counties as required by law and governors have raised questions that the national government is yet to answer." He said.

Speaking on phone, Munya said governors were worried that the additional costs of maintaining and employing personnel to manage the equipment would impact on their budgets.

"Although the equipment are leased to counties through the national government for a period of seven years, we are not told how the deal was arrived at and other finer details," he said, adding that they decided to sign for the deal as a gesture of goodwill.

Munya claimed the national government is hiding something from counties, maintaining that there has to be openness in how the equipment is to be handled.

The governor said some counties already have the equipment they are being told to accept, prompting allegations that someone in the national government already benefited from the whole package.

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