In 2019, a shocking exposé on how orphaned and vulnerable kids were being treated at the Irene Mureithi-led Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK) went on air.
Part of the sad stories, was that children suffering from diseases such as cerebral palsy were subjected to dubious & painful procedures at Stallion Rain Associates, a clinic that was neither recognized nor licensed by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC)
To make matters worse, it was also revealed that Chief Executive Officer Irene Mureithi makes money from the suffering of children.
The case was taken up by authorities but seems to have stuck somewhere because, as recent leaks have shown, it is the elite that often preys and benefit from the suffering of kids.
Many kids are disappearing at an alarming rate, but this is a story for other channels.
Going back to CWSK, in a letter dated 16th September, 2019, the head of public service Joseph K. Kinyua wrote to Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Ukur Yatani (now CS National Treasury) ordering a special audit on CWSK.
The audit which was supposed to cover 10 areas, as specified by Kinyua, was to be finalized on 30th November, 2019.
The report has never been made public, instead then suspended Irene Mureithi was reinstated by the court to her position.
In January 2020, the High Court fully reinstated her and also lifted an earlier freeze on all the society’s bank accounts following allegations of misconduct and misappropriation of funds.
Procurement flaws that have not yet been sealed allowed for the staff at CWSK to award themselves lucrative tenders.
Conservative estimates showed that staff awarded themselves contracts worth Kshs. 0.7 billion.
A driver named Francis Thiongo, who had not been at work for months was also receiving his salary and also acted as a signatory for a CWSK bank account at Equity. He managed to do this because of the damning information he held about the CEO. This is according to the source.
More suffering as narrated
Contract duration for staff maintained at 1 year (over 170 sacked, what s this?)
The organization employs personnel on a one year period. It may not be illegal to award all employees one year contract but the intent is what worries the employees. It has always been used as a way of intimidation in the organization. This has led to lack of independence in the line of duty hence compromising their integrity.
Is it in order for a government agency to issues all calibres of staff with a one year contract? Isn’t it against the labour laws?
This way of managing staff is a clear violation of labour laws especially happening in a government agency.
NB: – these contracts are signed at the end of the financial year which means that staffs work the whole period without an existing binding contract which makes them vulnerable.
This kind of contract also makes it difficult for staff to get long term loans from banks as there is no job security and the employer can only guarantee a one year repayment period. The CWSK staff are therefore not able to develop themselves and only rely on salary payments to meet their daily living expenditures.
Lack of Medical Cover and Pension Scheme
All staff in CWSK don’t have an existing medical cover despite the fact that the allocated Human Resource budget is enough to cover for the Medical and also accommodate a Registered Pension Scheme. It’s very odd for a government agency to lack such basic benefits though this is explained by the constant transfer of Recurrent funds to the Development Funds account. This is done so as to accommodate the overboard fraudulent ways of the C.E.O which can only be achieved using development projects.
There already exists a negotiated NHIF Enhanced benefits cover of around 30 Million Kes per financial year which the C.E.O has refused to okay as it would reduce her funds to be misappropriated kitty.
Though the two benefits are not mandatory, it’s a precedent that has been set in govt agencies and you’d expect the organization to follow suit.
Late payment of staff salaries.
Staff welfare has never been a priority to the C.E.O (Irene Mureithi). This is why in most cases salaries delay by even more than two months due to mismanagement of the funds received.
Having funds in the Development account is always the priority for the C.E.O, this means that in case of shortage, funds will always be moved from the salary and thus affecting the staff salary payments.
The government has always funded the agency and in fact, the Human Resource Budget is grown by a certain percentage to cover staff salary increments. This, however, is not the case with the haphazard employment and dismissal of staff meaning staff salaries are rarely increased
Lack of priority when it comes to key Performance Indicators.
We have had a challenge with the C.E.O due to a lack of priorities. As it stands, we have the capacity of supporting OVC outside households in every county with a minimum of 320 children. That is without the earmarked Arid and Semi-Arid County which has a bigger problem with drought and hunger –in addition to culture.
As it stands now, we are supporting approximately 2,000 OVC children. As per the performance contracting, we are supposed to reach around 6,000 OVCs children. What we normally do, we multiply the number by three terms.
If you go to the Temporary places of safety, you will note children who have been sent away from school due to lack of fee payment. In some instances, fees are in arrears of two terms.
CHILDREN ARE REALLY SUFFERING. We demand a quick response.
Hey DCI, DPP: What happened to the Child Welfare Society of Kenya Cases?
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