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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,24TH AUG 2020-ODM leader Raila Odinga has defended the party’s position on the fraudulent procurement schemes at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), insisting that a special audit be conducted first to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.
In a press statement issued on Monday, Mr. Odinga said, so far, no evidence has been produced to support claims that funds meant for battling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country have been stolen under the Ministry of Health.
“As matters stand now, none of the people taking to the podium or social media to condemn theft of funds has any evidence. The so-called condemnations of theft could well be part of a cover-up,” said Odinga.
“Our experience in this country is that the best way to bungle and cover up corruption investigations is to have many different voices each with its own version of truth. We saw that noise with regard to Arror and Kimwarer dams and the NYS scams, among others.”
He reiterated that the government should conduct a thorough and urgent audit of all funds allocated to the various State agencies and departments for the war against COVID-19, adding that the Orange party would not protect anyone found culpable.
“The position of the party in the current allegations of corruption in COVID-19 related resources is that the government needs to conduct a thorough and urgent audit of all the funds that have been put at the disposal of various state agencies, departments and ministries to fight the pandemic with a view to establishing the facts on usage of such resources,” he said.
“ODM will not defend anyone, including members or relatives and friends of its officials, found to have benefitted from funds and other resources meant for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.”
Odinga’s statement comes amid heavy criticism of the Orange party following remarks made by ODM’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna which were understood as downplaying of the graft reports at the Health Ministry.
Sifuna, who also called for an audit to ascertain whether COVID-19 funds had been stolen, accused the media of sensationalizing the matter.
“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 over the weekend.
“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.”