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New Covid-19 centre lands Kilifi officials in hot soup

Wednesday May 13 2020

Kilifi County Secretary Arnold Mkare is escorted to a waiting car on May 13, 2020 after he was arrested by EACC officers

Kilifi County Secretary Arnold Mkare is escorted to a waiting car on May 13, 2020 after he was arrested by EACC officers for failing to provide information on the recently launched Covid-19 Medical Complex. PHOTO | MAUREEN ONGALA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MAUREEN ONGALA
By MAUREEN ONGALA
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Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives have arrested three senior Kilifi County officials over the recently launched multi-million shilling Covid-19 Medical Complex.

Kilifi County Secretary Arnold Mkare, Chief Officer of Medical Services Bilala Mazoya and his Public Health Counterpart Adan Ibrahim Alio were arrested on Wednesday morning for failure to provide documentation on, among others, the source of funding for the project.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi recently converted the first phase of the proposed complex into a coronavirus isolation and management unit.

The structure was to be constructed at an approximate cost of Sh890 million, with the two phases costing Sh493 million and Sh398 million respectively.

The arrests was conducted Wednesday morning by a team of EACC officers led by Upper Coast Regional Coordinator Egnatus Wekesa and his Lower Coast counterpart Mutembei Nyaga.

“The County officers have been reluctant, neglected or failed to provide EACC with the information. Today we came here to pick those officers who have refused to share those documents,” Mr Nyaga said.

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The Commission is also following up on County Head of Procurement Rziki Matano, Legal Officer Bibi Fondo and Chief Officer for Finance Ben Kai.

Mr Nyaga said it is an offence for any government officer or any person EACC is investigating to neglect or fail to provide them with information.

“It is against various laws and you can be charged with many offences, among them obstruction and failure to provide documents. If the officers we have picked today fail to give us reasonable explanations as to why they are not giving us the information, then we are going to charge them in Court,” he added.

Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi (centre)
Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi (centre) during the official opening of the Kilifi County Covid-19 Medical Complex in Kilifi town May 6, 2020. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Wekesa said the Commission is conducting several investigations, and that the County Government has on several occasions ignored letters from the anti-graft watchdog requesting for information.

The Upper Coast Regional boss said its officers were mishandled on Tuesday at the County Secretary’s office.

“What happened yesterday (Tuesday) was not a good thing. Officers came here for investigations on the Covid-19 Medical Complex. They stayed up to around 4 pm...at the end of the day they were insulted and they looked helpless,” said Mr Wekesa.

Part of the investigation is to establish the source of funding for the facility after allegations that it was donor funded and not by the County Government.

“We receive a lot of complains on corruption ranging from mega to very small projects being implemented in the county. If we do not get the documents to verify whether the concerns are genuine or not then it means we cannot establish the truth,” he added.