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Probe Sh63bn medical equipment leasing deal, Mudavadi tells Senate



ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has asked the Senate to probe the multi-billion medical equipment leasing project that has cost taxpayers Sh63 billion.

“Nawaomba kama Senate, lalia hawa watu kabisa tujue nini ilifanyika,” Musalia said.

This loosely translates to “I ask you Senate, pressurise these people until we know what happened”.

He spoke on Saturday in Kakamega during a funds drive in aid of Kakamega Traders Welfare Group.

The contracts for the supply of the equipment were signed in February 2015 between the Health ministry and equipment manufacturers for leasing of medical facilities for Sh38 billion.

Contracted firms included Philips from the Netherlands, Bellco SRL from Italy, General Electric (GE) from the USA, Mindray Biomedical of China and Esteem from India.

Two hospitals in each county were to receive the facilities.

The cost was to be met by both the national and county governments with a promise of bringing specialised healthcare services closer to the people.

The deal would see public health facilities supplied with theatre facilities, dialysis kits, intensive care unit equipment, X-ray machines, ultrasound units and anaesthesia machines.

Read: Counties sign MoU to get health equipment

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Union questioned the manner in which the programme was being implemented since most of the 94 county and two national hospitals earmarked for the programme lacked the requisite infrastructure and personnel to operate the machines.

Mudavadi said the Senate needs to unearth the nature of the contracts that have seen their initial cost almost double.

While quoting a report by the Saturday Standard, Mudavadi said the deal has no value for cost.

The paper said some of the equipment leased to counties was overpriced, had a short lifespan or was ordinarily supposed to have been bought by counties.

They include mattresses, baby cots, basins, microwave ovens, razor blades, electric kettles, trolleys, stethoscopes and drip stands

A simple operating theatre lamp, for instance, cost counties Sh14 million while a trolley was billed at ShSh560,000.

Mudavadi said inasmuch as the handshake brought political tranquility in the country, it should not be used to allow thieves to thrive in their evil ways.

“The leasing of the equipment is shrouded in mystery. These senators must probe the contracts and make them public because Kenyans are going to be paying the debts for a very long time,” Mudavadi said.

Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala organised the funds drive for traders to buy a bus.

Baringo senator Gideon Moi, James Orengo (Siaya), Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay) and Fred Outa (Kisumu) were also present.

Busia woman representative Florence Mutua echoed Mudavadi’s sentiments.

She said that it is disheartening that medical facilities in most counties were still wanting despite counties contributing Sh200 million every year towards the medical leasing project.

“In fact these medical equipment were forced on counties. If a county contributes Sh200 million, isn’t it supposed to have modern medical facilities and things like ambulances?” Mutua asked.

Mudavadi said he warned back in March 2015 that the medical equipment leasing project was a scandal in waiting but no one believed him.

“I even mentioned a few companies and now I’m seeing them being mentioned in the newspapers,” he said.

The signing of the leasing of the equipment was marred in controversy from the word go as a section of governors even refused to sign the memorandum of understanding.

The governors were upset with the national government for taking over a devolved function without consultation.

The matter ended up in court with the then Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto stating in suit papers that procurement of health equipment was a preserve of counties and the deal would rob counties of the mandate.

Read: 38 counties sign up for medical equipment, nine now remain

More: Three counties yet to sign for health

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