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Fraud

EACC: China insulating looters in the Sh1bn container clinics

Investigations into the controversial Sh1 billion portable clinics have failed after the Chinese government refused to offer Kenya information on the purchase, pricing and the suppliers behind the irregular deal.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) says China has ignored Kenya’s request for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA)—an agreement that allows to or more countries to share information for enforcement of criminal laws.

Toothless EACC can not establish the actual cost of the 100 containers that have been lying idle for half a decade instead of increasing access to health services in the slums and rural areas.

The container clinics were made in China by the Guangzhou Moneybox Steel Structure Engineering Company for Estama Investments Ltd, a local firm which was awarded the contract in July 2015.

Estama Investments was to supply, install, commission and hand over the portable clinics at a cost of Sh1 billion.

Ministry of Health paid Sh800 million for the portable clinics before they were installed, commissioned and handing them over.

The payment was made against the agreement between the ministry and Estama Investments pushing the anti-graft body to investigate.

EACC chief executive, Twalib Mbarak told parliament that the commission’s efforts to reach Chinese government through their Embassy in Kenya have failed.

The commision needs China to facilitate the expeditious servicing of the MLA request by peer agencies.

“The commission undertook the investigation in two phases: criminal investigations, which was phase one, and civil recovery,” said Mr Mbarak said yesterday.

“The criminal investigations focused on the procurement process, payments and confirmation of the supply. All the local aspects of the investigations have been concluded.”

EACC is now sitting back and hoping for a response to the MLA request from China to conclude the criminal investigations and forward the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The EACC claims that it needs Chinese response on the MLA request to determine the criminal culpability of the suspects.

The Ministry of Health awarded the contract for supply of the 100 portable containers to Estama Investments in June 2015 at a cost of Sh10 million per unit.

Documents from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) revealed that Estama Investments purchased each container at Sh1.4 million then sold to the government at Sh10 million each.

KRA had also taken the controversial firm to court seeking to freeze its bank accounts for evading tax.

MoH has so far paid Estama a total of Sh800 million and only remaining a small balance of Sh200 million.

But EACC is in an out-of-court negotiations with the Estama to recover Sh400 million that was paid irregularly.

The EACC’s valuation puts the value of the 100 container clinics at Sh140 million and the value of assorted furniture and medical equipment at Sh168,860,000 bringing the total cost of 100 containers to Sh308.86 million.

 


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