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Kenyans outraged at threats by top official to journalist over Sh5bn scandal story

Kenyans have expressed outrage and shock at the news that Sh5 billion was looted by top Ministry of Health officials through manipulation of the Integrated Financial Management System, diversion of funds, and double payment for goods.

This follows a leaked internal audit report that showed the theft— five times the infamous Sh791 million National Youth Service scandal— also involved payments of millions of shillings to phony suppliers in the financial year (2015/2016).

More anger was expressed on online platforms such as Twitter over Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri’s threats to a Business Daily journalist for doing the story on the graft in Afya House.

Mugambi M’Mutegi @PeterMutegi tweeted: “The Ministry of Health Sh5 billion scandal on the cover of today’s @BD_Africa makes the NYS one look like child’s play.”

Another, Felista Wangari ‏@FelistaWangari shared the link of the story online and said: “The story the Ministry of Health doesn’t want Kenyans to read: Taxpayers lose Sh5bn in NYS-style Afya House theft”

Ory Okolloh Mwangi, who tweets as ‏@kenyanpundit, said: “PS Muraguri had threatened the author of the Ministry of Health theft story.”

The Nation reached out to Dr Muraguri, who did not pick up the calls but instead sent a message: “Will revert.”

This comes after revelations of another elaborate plan to steal nearly Sh18.2 million in forged vouchers for fictitious payments by procurement officers in the Ministry of Health and those in the lab in May this year.

The payments were for “stationery, chemicals and reagents” in the National Quality Control Laboratory (NQCL).

However, these payments were intercepted by some of the directors of NQCL otherwise eight companies would have pocketed over Sh18.2 million.

Seven of these companies were purporting to supply chemicals and reagent while one — Spring-Line Agencies Ltd — was to supply stationery worth Sh795, 000 to the government facility.

On this, the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said it was being investigated.