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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 23 November 2014

MISSING MARTENITY MILLIONS AT NAKURU HOSPITAL HAUNT OFFICIALS

Nakuru doctors and health technocrats at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital are discontented with the alleged missing of multi-million maternity and medical equipment funds.
They are accusing the Nakuru county government and particularly its health department on the purported misappropriation or unaccounted for of over Sh500 million earmarked for new maternity and the purchase of health equipment for the largest referral hospital in the region.
Totaling to Sh600 million, the money is said to have been transferred early this year from the National Treasury and was earmarked for construction of an ultra-modern maternity that was to cost Sh300 million at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital.
The other Sh300 million according to records available with us show that it was to buy equipment to upgrade the medical facilities. The medics are now arguing that at best, only Sh100 million can be explained but according to the county PS for Health Stephen Mwaura who confirmed that it is true such funds were early this year sent by the National Treasury under the RTGS fund, the amount was not misused as they were used for paying salaries and allowances.
Mwaura has since denied that the funds were wrongfully diverted from development to recurrent expenditures saying they were used on priority basis.
The accusation was revealed to us by some senior doctors who said their attempts to get the issue clarified via documents have hit a dead end.
“The Sh500 million out of Sh600 million was sent to the county ministry by the national treasury in the last Financial Year in May 2014 under the RTGS. The money was earmarked for construction of an ultra modern maternity at the hospital at Sh300 million with another Sh300 million earmarked for new equipment,” said a medic privy to the transaction who sought anonymity.
The medics say only about Sh100 million worth of equipment could be accounted for, meaning a whooping Sh500 million could have been fleeced.
They said on demanding an explanation, the county office said the money was used to pay salaries but the medics argue this is wrong because the money was for development not recurrent expenditure.
“When money is released by the exchequer, it means that every cent must be used on the stated objective and no diversion is allowed,” said the doctors who added that efforts by one of their seniors to get proof of use of the funds have failed as well.
They add that neither the Transitional Authority nor area MP Samuel Arama has gotten adequate answers.
However, Mwaura says he has all documents to explain the funds usage adding that he has been under pressure to release the documents but could not because he cannot trust politicians as they would use such papers to discredit his governor Kinuthia Mbugua’s leadership.
He added that an MP from the county has been doing rounds discrediting his ministry while at the same time demanding copies of the documentation for the usage of the money.
“I cannot give him such documents in a pedestrian manner. Let him follow the right procedure or even raise it in the assembly and we will comply as per the law. But you cannot start by accusing us of ‘eating’ then demanding documents,” he stated.
The medics say they suspect foul play saying if those funds were diverted to salaries, “what happened to the funds initially allocated and brought down here to pay salaries?”
“Since every treasury allocation is pre-planned, how funds originally meant for salaries used instead,” posed the doctors who preferred not to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the press. They said elaborate modern maternity plans and designs were prepared by one Engineer Sang while the building construction plans were approved by the Public Works ministry “but they’re now lying idle at PGH yet their monies were sent,” stated one of the medics.
The funds subject was reportedly raised recently in Mombasa during a meeting attended by Nakuru county Health minister Mungai Kabii and was last week said to have been raised again in the national parliamentary committee on health, according to the medics.