Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa wants Kemsa CEO Jonah Manjari put under witness protection so he can assist in investigations and prosecution of those involved in the theft of Covid-19 funds.
The lawmaker said the other person who should be put under protection is the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority’s procurement officer.
Ichung’wa, while speaking on Inooro TV on Sunday night, said Manjari could be having evidence that could help bring to book those who stole the funds.
He said those who gave orders for the procurement of protective equipment from certain companies were his seniors and therefore the need to protect him.
Manjari told the Senate committee investigating the theft that there were requests from Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, PS Susan Mochache and a brigadier, whom he did not name, that Kemsa awards the contracts to particular companies.
Manjari said they used messages and phone calls.
This is after the committee asked him whether there were individuals forcing him to make some decisions outside the board’s functions.
Ichung’wa further urged those mentioned by the CEO to take political responsibility and step aside to allow for investigations to be conducted.
“There is no reason why PS Mochache and CS Kagwe should not step aside to pave the way for investigations,” he said.
But Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu defended Kagwe and accused Ichung’wa of playing politics.
The MP said politicians should give investigating agencies 21 days to complete investigations as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta so that the truth can be known.
“But if there is anyone who made money corruptly taking advantage of the disease, then they should be jailed regardless of their status in society,” Wambugu said.
The legislator said it takes an entire system – from procurement to finance – to steal that kind of money.
He said Kagwe’s efforts to change or transfer officials in the ministry have been frustrated.
“So unless he is a genius, he has not had enough time to instal his own system to help him steal the kind of money that has been stolen. Whoever has stolen this money has been in the Afya House system for a long time,” he said.
Kagwe has dismissed claims that the ministry instructed Kemsa to award tenders to specific companies. He said people should wait for investigations by the EACC.
“I did not instruct anyone to award anyone a tender… I don’t know who is supposed to have sent instructions to Kemsa to identify individuals that are to be suppliers,” Kagwe is quoted as having said.
Edited by A.N