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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 31 August 2014

GOVERNOR STANDS HIS GROUND ON HOSPITAL, TELLS OFF MP



Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba has come out fighting over his decision to purchase the controversial Sh185 million proposed teaching and referral hospital in the county daring legislators to go ahead with their demands for an independent audit “as everything was done above board”.

The governor said that he was willing to meet any of the parliamentary watchdog committees to explain a purchase that he said would help the county tap millions of infrastructure programmes rolled up by the national government to counties with requisite facilities.

Trans Nzoia county rep Janet Nangabo and Kiminini counterpart Chris Wamalwa have opposed the purchase of the facility that is built on a 4.5 acre piece of land.

They argue that the cash was enough to refurbish the 60-year-old Kitale District Hospital and equip it.
The two leaders say that they were not involved in the purchase, apparently on the Kitale Kari land.

But while seeking to put the record straight, the governor who was in the company of his deputy Stanley Tarus, the chief officer in charge of health Ken Simiyu and the county secretary Wafula Wakwofula said that the aging district hospital did not have enough space left to factor emerging health technology.

He also said that the county government sought expert advice from the government valuer, county architect and civil engineer   before the purchase.
“In addition the county government sought further sought advice from independent consulting team of experts including architects, surveyors, structural engineers, service engineers and medical consultants,” he said while displaying to the press the evaluation reports giving the purchase a clean bill of health.  

“Both teams found the structural integrity of the facility to be sound and intact. The design is excellent, with wide passages, ramps, doors and spaces provided for all the critical hospital functions like casualty, theatres, laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic departments and maternity wards,” he said.

Khaemba was at pains to explain that the deal was the best the county could undertake under the circumstances as it was 65pc complete and would therefore take less time to complete adding that estimates from valuers would give the facility at Sh324 million at the current state.
He   accused   leaders opposed to the purchase of trembling under the weight of change saying that they had been invited at the planning stages but declined.

While raising the red flag about the project dubbed “imprudent and extravagant”, Nangabo and Wamalwa threatened to take the matter to the parliamentary accounts committee and its sister watchdog the parliamentary investment committee to unearth the rot they said was manifest “and glaring for all to see”.

They claimed that the vendor of the facility, a certain Vipul Dhodhia, had purchased the hospital at a paltry Sh23 million through auction, as it was tinkering towards collapse and decay. They added that the hospital had been condemned as unsuitable for human habitation.

But in his statement, the governor wondered how a government which had approved the facility as sound could on the other had condemn it.
“Who has the responsibility to condemn structures in Kenya is not the ministry of Public Works and Housing? Who has produced this report declaring it fit, is it not the government? Come on, give us a break!” he retorted.

The governor revealed that the national government was in the process of boosting the health facilities of various counties by equipping existing facilities and added that if Trans Nzoia government did not put its house in order, they would be overlooked during the rare windfall.
“If for example the government decides to equip three theatres, or install a scanning facility, how would we benefit when we do not have the requisite infrastructure? Why are some counties overtaking others while we are busy lamenting?” he posed.

The facility which the county has already paid an initial deposit of Sh60 million has room for expansion with a possibility of the availability of a 30-acre adjacent land.