October 23rd 2017

Media / Watchdog

Daily Nation's paper orders reprint as cartels buy out edition detailing Sh5 billion loot

“I mean, you don’t know government. We can get what you write even before you publish it, including getting print-shots and screenshots of the story. Someone can be reading your messages while sitting here. If there is a need to hack Nation’s system we can....."

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 26 Oct 2016 14:54 EAT

A snapshot of the paper's front page. (Photo: Edward Musungu/Kenya Free Press).

The Nation Media Group has today been forced to reprint a special edition of its Business Daily newspaper after unknown people bought bulk copies of the paper to clear the edition from the streets. The paper carried in its headline an investigation a report into the loss of over Sh5 billion from the Ministry of Health.

The article indicated that well-connected businessmen and companies had benefited from irregular payments of millions of shillings from the ministry from a budget line that had been earmarked for a programme to improve health service systems in county governments. None of the funds reached the counties.

Instead, the report indicated, top ministry officials hatched a plot to loot the funds in a scheme the paper likened to the one that saw billions of shillings looted from the National Youth Service between 2013 and 2015. Among the recipients of the Ministry of Health funds was a company linked to former chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Philip Kinisu.

A source at the Nation printing press confirmed that the management had ordered the reprint early in the afternoon when the firm was beset with inquiries about copies. By 2pm, the new issues had not hit the streets.

In the article, the Principal Secretary for Health Nicholas Muraguri is quoted threatening journalists: “I mean, you don’t know government. We can get what you write even before you publish it, including getting print-shots and screenshots of the story. Someone can be reading your messages while sitting here. If there is a need to hack Nation’s system we can. We can even confirm how much money is in your account now.”

The Kenya Union of Journalists demanded for the immediate arrest of the PS for threatening journalists. "Dr Muraguri must be arrested with immediate effect. He has bragged how the government has access to systems in newsrooms, gets screen shots of stories and that they can even hack those systems in his response to massive looting at Health Ministry," wrote KUJ secretary general Eric Oduor on his Facebook page.

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