Probe reveals glaring discrepancies in the Londiani crash payments

Deputy President Righati Gachagua conducting a fundraiser during the memorial service for the Londiani Junction accident victims at Londiani town in Kericho county on July 4, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A special committee formed by the County Assembly of Kericho to investigate how Sh14.5 million for victims of the Londiani junction road accident was utilized, has revealed glaring discrepancies in the payments made by the donation committee.

Assembly Majority Leader Philip Rono revealed that bills submitted to the probe team showed significant disparities in what was paid to two suppliers- Daniel Mwangi Gitata and Mary Njeri Ngenga on July 17 and August 3, 2023.

"For instance, on July 17, Gitata's bill was Sh172,362, while Njenga's bill was Sh120,705. However, on August 3rd, our Ad hoc committee found Mr Gitata's bill to be Sh68,960 and Ms Njeri's bill to be Sh78,410. Why such a substantial difference in bill submissions?" observed Rono.

Providing evidence to support the claims, the Kamasian MCA revealed that bank cheques had been issued in favour of the hospital by the donation committee.

He made the revelation when the committee grilled the Kericho County Hospital accountant, Mr Davis Sang and the Chief Officer at the governor's office Alphonce Rotich regarding the utilization of the funds.

In response, Sang explained that the initial total bill of Sh1.8 million for the 12 patients admitted to Kericho County Hospital was calculated by cumulatively allocating costs.

He claimed the medical superintendent later advised him to separate the patients' actual bills from consumables and implants.

But the committee’s chairman Moses Rotich, Soget/Tendeno MCA expressed dissatisfaction with Sang's random bill distribution approach.

His sentiments were echoed by Londiani MCA Vincent Korir who questioned the urgency of the donation committee's refund to the hospital, considering that the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) had already supplied medical and non-pharmaceutical items worth Sh1.8 million to the hospital.

"Why was the donation committee keen to refund the same amount that Kemsa had already covered? Something seems amiss,” he posed.

Sang, however, admitted limited knowledge about the Kemsa donation.

"I mainly deal with supplies that eventually incur costs for the hospital. I cannot comment extensively on the Kemsa matter,” he said.

The spotlight then turned to Alphonce Rotich, Chief Officer at the Governor's office, who had acted as the Donation Committee secretary.

Mathew Korir, the Chaik MCA, questioned Rotich's inclusion of County Executive Committee members, who were absent from the donation committee's meeting.

Korir sought a clarification from Rotich on why part of the money was used pay service providers during the funeral service for the victims contrary to an initial plan that would see the money deducted the county’s Emergency Fund kitty.

"Since the accounting year closed on June 30, we lacked a budget for the fundraising event. On July 18, the donation committee convened, and the County Secretary instructed me to write a letter to the finance Chief Officer for supplier payments using funds from the fundraiser," said Rotich.

The Ad hoc committee is expected to draft and present its report to the house within seven days.