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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 22 February 2015

Reps smell a rat in Oparanya Red Cross ambulances fresh deal

Three members of the Kakamega county assembly have criticised Governor Wycliffe Oparanya for leasing more ambulance vehicles from the Kenya Red Cross instead of buying them.
Namamali ward Kelvin Olengo, Koyonzo’s George Mulama and Namayiakalo ward rep Cleophas Malala claimed the deal to lease ambulances from the Red Cross is too costly to taxpayers.
In 2013, the county government and Red Cross entered an agreement in which the county government would hire six ambulances from the organization for Sh7.2 million per ambulance a year.
The county received the six emergency response vehicles set with medical equipment and qualified health workers.
On February 4, the county acquired two more ambulances from the Red Cross adding up the total number of the vehicles to eight.
But a section of the local leaders criticised the deal claiming it was too expensive and uneconomical as it would not give the county the value for its money.
Olengo termed it as a joke hiring one ambulance vehicle for Sh600,000 per month.
“A fully furnished medical vehicle is less than Sh3.4 million. Why can’t the county government purchase its own ambulance vehicles and create jobs for the many youths who have trained and qualified in medical services?” questioned Olengo
He argued that the money is enough for the county to purchase its own ambulances at a more affordable cost.
He said it is important for the county to purchase and have its own property “so that even when the current leaders leave office, the property will still remain for the county government”.
Mulama maintained that the deal between the Kenya Red Cross and the county government is an avenue for corruption.
“The Red Cross is just out to make millions of shillings from the county governments. Every year, our county government is paying Sh7.2 million per one vehicle. After five years, the Red Cross Society will have accumulated Sh252 million from the seven vehicles in Kakamega county alone. This is not reasonable of our governor,” he said.
The two vowed to push a motion in the assembly and lobby for their colleagues to reject the leasing of more ambulances “because they are misplaced priorities”.
Mayiakalo MCA Cleofas Malala termed the ambulance deal as pure thievery between the governor and a few redcross officials and called on like- minded MCAs in the assembly to rise to the occasion and hold the governor to task.
But in a quick rejoinder An adviser in the governor’s office Justine Mutobera termed the allegations against the exercise as hot air.
Speaking when he distributed blankets and foodstuff to 100 families who lost property to fire, Mutobera called on the MCAs to constructively engage the county government if they wanted the right information.
“Let them seek the right information instead of running around with rumours of alleged deals where none exists,” said Mutobera.

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