I will spare nobody in the fight against corruption, Health CS Nakhumicha vows
Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has made an impassioned commitment to fighting corruption within her ministry, promising that no government officials implicated in graft scandals will be immune to scrutiny.
The declaration came during the launch of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission’s (EACC) report on Corruption and Unethical Conduct in Kenyan Healthcare Projects held in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Ms Nakhumicha revealed that her previous attempts to prompt the EACC to probe malpractices at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) were thwarted by resistance from high-ranking officials within her ministry.
The EACC is now investigating irregularities surrounding the award of a tender for the procurement of anti-mosquito nets by Kemsa. The fallout from this procurement scandal has led President William Ruto to dismiss Dr Josephine Mburu, the Principal Secretary for Public Health and Professional Standards.
In addition, the chairperson and members of the board of directors of Kemsa, responsible for the flawed procurement process, had their appointments revoked by the President.
Kemsa CEO, Terry Ramadhani, along with eight other Ministry of Health officials, have also been suspended.
Nakhumicha shared her frustration with the initial response to her request for an investigation.
“Last week on Thursday, immediately after the release of that report, I wrote a letter to EACC asking them to come and investigate. When I spoke to EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak on Monday to inquire whether he had received my letter, he said he hadn’t,” Nakhumicha said.
According to the Cabinet Secretary, this delay in communication is indicative of the pervasive corruption in the country.
“That is how corruption fights back in this country. EACC is only a few metres away from my office but by Monday the letter had still not arrived,” she said, adding, “Thankfully Mbarak told me that he has since deployed his officers to investigate the scandal.”
Nakhumicha condemned senior government officials who misuse public funds meant for the healthcare sector, vowing to hold them accountable.
“There are people in this country who are hell-bent on enriching themselves on the backs of patients’ money. This is very shameful, and I’m not going to allow it,” she said.
David Oginde, EACC Chairperson, confirmed the ongoing investigations into the Kemsa scandal, with an assurance that the agency will be thorough in its inquiry.
“We have a whole investigative department that is looking into the scandal. They will look at what exactly happened at Kemsa and who were involved. Suspects will be invited for interviews, and we’ll forward the names of those found culpable to the DPP for further action,” Oginde said.