Since the onset of the pandemic, Kenya received a significant amount of loans and grants among other donations to help cushion citizens against the effects of the battered economy.
Despite all these goodies from well-wishers and donor countries trickling in, the subject of transparency and accountability remained one of the biggest challenges.
The country was exposed to the same old tune of graft with influential individuals being accused of taking home millions of shillings received from inflated costs of government supplies.
The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) was the worst hit by this wayward vice. Reports revealed that the government agency flouted procurement regulations and misused public and donor funds earmarked for the country’s response to the pandemic.
KEMSA is responsible for procuring drugs and other medical supplies for more than 6,000 health facilities across the country. However, the scandal crippled the entire sector. Over Ksh7 billion was reported missing.
Amid pressure from Kenyans, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a probe into the matter giving tight timelines, 21 days. Consequently, the authority’s board subsequently fired its CEO and top officials.
The graft allegations had some negative consequences as USAID decided to halt its supply of antiretroviral drugs through KEMSA, which led to a temporary shortage of ARVs in the country.
To date, the country is still waiting for investigations to be finalized.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in October released over 11.9 million files exposing the clandestine wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians, and billionaires and named it Pandora Papers.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family was mentioned in the financial leaks. His mother, sister, and brother were exposed for allegedly stashing a lot of wealth through foundations and companies in tax havens, including the Panama islands. The leak placed their overseas assets at over Ksh3.3 billion.
Uhuru responded to the leaks and insisted that it had set a precedent on the need for public servants to be transparent.
Civil Servant With Ksh138M Net Worth
Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (KETRACO) was brought to the limelight after one civil servant was exposed for having a networth of Ksh138 million and other series of assets.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detailed in court on December 2, that the civil servant had several other real estate empires in different parts of the country including Nairobi and Nakuru. They included rental apartments, farms for commercial agriculture, and townhouses.
The wealth raised a lot of questions forcing KETRACO to suspend the civil servant while assisting EACC to get to the bottom of the matter that was linked to breach of procurement rules.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in a past interview admitted that over two billion ends up in pockets of some individuals daily igniting a heated debate among Kenyans.
Rigathi Gachagua’s Arrest
Mathira Member of Parliament, Rigathi Gachagua, was dramatically arrested at his Nyeri home on Friday morning, July, 23. Officers drawn from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) unit raided his home in an early morning incident cuffing the lawmaker.
It emerged that Rigathi had been on the detectives’ radar for allegedly using 42 companies to disburse a cumulative total of Ksh12 billion.
The transactions, according to the statements presented in court by DCI, reported that he made those deals when his elder brother, late Nderitu Gachagua, was serving as Nyeri Governor.
The files further indicated that all the money was then transferred to a firm that was linked to Gachagua’s wife.
The case blew up with Deputy President William Ruto’s allies defending the vocal legislator arguing that he was politically targeted for his affiliation to the second in command.
Gachagua went further to defend himself noting that he acquired his wealth by organizing discos while on campus. Gachagua also denied doing business with Nyeri county urging the people to let his brother rest in peace.
“We never did any business with Nyeri county, we were never going to do it, and I want people to stop pursuing my brother when he is resting, let him rest in peace,” the MP stated.
“Anyone who has evidence that we did business with the county, bring it on.”
After spending several days behind bars, he was later released with the case still pending in court.
Thugs Hiring Police Guns
An investigative piece that was done by Citizen TV journalist, Purity Mwambia, on April 18, shocked the nation after it exposed how police hire out their guns to thugs.
The investigative feature, Guns Galore (Silaha Mtaani), alleged that thugs hire guns from law enforcement officers for as little as Ksh1,000.
The investigative piece brought to light the rot in the police service and how corruption was deep-rooted in the system.
Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) boss, George Kinoti, announced that he would summon Mwambia, Royal Media Services editors, and the management over the report.
Kinoti lamented that the media house did not consult the police or relevant stakeholders before airing the piece.
“The allegations made in this report are extremely serious. It is also apparent that crimes relating to unlawful possession of firearms may have been committed in the context of this report.
“We never refused any operations being carried out by you. This could be a fantastic operation if at least you could have put us on board. The moment you have received a piece of information where we can recover a firearm, please don’t be cheated that it was okay to be done the way it was done. It was dangerous,” Kinoti stated.
While doing the investigation, Mwambia collected some samples which she agreed to hand over to the police for further probe. Among them an AK 47 gun, a pistol, handcuffs, and police uniform. However, the case is still ongoing.
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti addressing journalists at DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road on Thursday, March 5, 2020
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