Governors want health equipment scheme probed

Wednesday March 18 2020
HEAPIC

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony addresses the press at the Council of Governors offices in Nairobi on December 8, 2017. Governors are questioning the legality of the Managed Equipment Services scheme. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IBRAHIM ORUKO

Governors have urged the Senate to establish a select committee to investigate the viability of the Sh63 billion Managed Equipment Services (Mes), since not all counties received medical equipment yet they are all paying equal amounts annually.

The call was made by Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o when he appeared before the Senate’s Committee on Finance to discuss the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 on Tuesday.

He was supported by colleagues Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), who revealed that they were bullied into signing a memorandum of understanding regarding the scheme.

They said despite paying billions of shillings for the equipment, they have neither seen the lease agreement nor known the faces behind it.

The project has been shrouded in mystery since its inception five years ago.

COERCION

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Despite gobbling up billions of shillings, the agreement has never been made public, and the governors say the probe should expose the real faces behind the deal.

“The equipment was brought to the Kakamega General Hospital on a Saturday night. I declined but I was made to accept under duress,” said Mr Oparanya, who chairs the governors' council.

The governor told the committee chaired by Mandera Senator Mohamed Muhamud that the State machinery mobilised chiefs and their assistants to announce through public through barazas that he had rejected the equipment.

“The chiefs told people that if cancer patients were dying, it was because I had refused to accept the equipment donated to them by the national government,” he said.

RUTO'S LOSS

Prof Chepkwony reminded the committee that only then-Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto refused to accept the equipment, but his enemies capitalised on it to fight him, occasioning his defeat in the 2017 general election.

“People in Kericho were told that they were dying of cancer because of me. That I had rejected the equipment; I had no choice but to sign,” he said.

Ms Jackline Omogeni, CEO of the Council of Governors, said efforts to access the agreement at the Ministry of Health have been futile, making it appear as if the deal is a secret agreement between the government and suppliers of the equipment.