October 22nd 2017

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The five people holding the key to solving Sh5 billion scandal mystery

An experienced civil servant, she was previously in the Ministry of Tourism when the ministry was involved in an even bigger scandal over the inflation of cost for the construction of Ronald Ngala Utalli College.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 29 Oct 2016 18:31 EAT

Treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich.

As investigations start into how a select group of companies received more than Sh5 billion from the Ministry of Health without breaking a sweat, attention will shift to the following key persons who were involved in the decisions to pay the monies or gave their approvals for the contracts at different stages.

1. Joyce Mukuhi Mutugi

As the head of accounting unit at the Ministry of Health, she is the one who has handled all payments to the companies. An experienced civil servant, she was previously in the Ministry of Tourism when the ministry was involved in an even bigger scandal over the inflation of cost for the construction of Ronald Ngala Utalli College.

Then, the Kenya Tourism Fund, which falls under the ministry, was found to have fraudulently paid Sh8.5 billion to acquire the Coast branch of Kenya Utalii College, which was later renamed Ronald Ngala Utalii College. According to an audit of the fund, the project’s cost was inflated from Sh1.95 billion to Sh10.4 billion.

The accountant will be required to explain her decisions on the payments. According to highly placed sources, she has been uncooperative in current efforts to get to the bottom of the scandal. She, for example, did not supply some of the documents needed for the conclusion of the interim audit report that has unearthed the scandal.

2. Peter Njoroge Mwangi

As the head of supply chain management at the ministry, he is the one in charge of procurement. He will need to explain why some transactions were done the way they were done, how the companies were paid the millions of shillings they earned without proof of any work done. The head of supply chain will also explain why a company like Sundales won lucrative tenders when it had no experience, having been registered in September 2013. Another company, Estama Limited, won contracts when it had not even filed regulatory returns since its inception, according to information provided by the AG's office.

3. Nicholas Muraguri

The accounting officer of the Ministry of Health is the overall administrative head of the ministry and coordinates all personnel, financial and procurement decisions. He oversaw the design of the tenders and, according to well-placed sources, has been dropping the names of powerful individuals whenever questions were asked about improprieties of some of the deals.

4. Bernard Ndungu

The accountant general at the Treasury is responsible for the work of all accountants. He is said to have been in touch with Ms Mutugi and endorsed some transactions which will be of interest if investigators go to the depth of the scandal. A related audit query has been raised about the banking of unspent allocations to the ministry ahead of the closure of the 2015/16 financial year in June/July.

5. Henry Rotich

The cabinet secretary for the Treasury has been involved in the maternal health programme from its initiation through the launch. Questions are being raised why over Sh900 million was returned to the Treasury at the end of the financial year in June yet there were pending bills amounting to over Sh2 billion. Sources say that the money was returned only on paper and does not reflect in government accounts.

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