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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,23RD AUG 2020-Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday attacked the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), accusing the party of attempting to shield corruption at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
Ruto’s statement came barely hours after ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna downplayed the fraudulent procurement schemes reported at KEMSA and instead accused the media of sensationalizing the matter.
Taking to Twitter the DP on Sunday afternoon accused ODM of turning into ‘Lords of corruption’ saying: “The pretentious (former) Opposition, now turned Lords of corruption, attempted defence of the Covid-19 grand larceny is NOT shocking. It confirms the worst of Kenyans’ fears that their side of handshake was never interested in the people’s good but opportunity to loot. What a shame.”
And in a quick rejoinder, Sifuna rubbished Ruto’s remarks stating: “We asked for an Audit. In which language is that a defence of theft? It is the hope of the actual thieves to dissappear in the fog of the manufactured “outrage”. The worst of Kenyans fear is you being in charge for we will lack words to describe the plunder that will ensue.”
We asked for an Audit. In which language is that a defence of theft? It is the hope of the actual thieves to dissappear in the fog of the manufactured “outrage”. The worst of Kenyans fear is you being in charge for we will lack words to describe the plunder that will ensue. https://t.co/lKfwD8BHXg
— Edwin Sifuna (@edwinsifuna) August 23, 2020
On Saturday, Sifuna said ODM would not condemn KEMSA over the graft allegations that have since caught the attention of global agencies, and instead maintained that a special audit by the Auditor General should first be conducted to ascertain the veracity of the graft claims exposed by the media.
“Initial reports of wrongdoing can come from any source. It is very well possible that some of the claims we are hearing are originating from people with vendor interests at KEMSA,” said Sifuna.
“It is our position as a party that it would be best for the procurement of all COVID-related items by KEMSA be subjected to an audit. It is from the audit that we can see recommendations for investigation and prosecution of individuals . Its only an audit that can ascertain veracity of some of these claims.”
Sifuna reiterated that the media reports should not be the basis for investigations into the graft claims at KEMSA.
“We will not join the blanket condemnation bandwagon but we will keep defending the right of Kenyans to get government services efficiently and at the right prices. For that reason we ask that media agencies exercise some responsibility in their coverage because sensational reports especially when the process of audit has not been conducted and investigations are just beginning may compromise international support for our COVID-19 war endangering ordinary Kenyans,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kenya National Union of Nurses has lambasted the remarks by the ODM Secretary General on the misuse of COVID-19 funds at government level.
The union through its Secretary General Seth Panyako, said ODM’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna should respect the office of the Director of Criminal Investigations, as it investigates the matter.
‘It is the responsibility of all Kenyans to ensure the fight against corruption is taken a notch higher…we will not allow dissolute, wrapped minds, using national platforms like ODM to perpetuate impunity and corruption…. I tell Sifuna the statement you issued that there is no corruption at KEMSA boils to one thing; that ODM has lost direction and is now here protecting cartels that have brought suffering in the health sector,” said Panyako.