A Chinese logistics firm, Song Hong Kenya Logistics Limited and rogue Ministry of Health officials are embroiled in a corruption scandal over attempted theft of Ksh20 million donation of assorted Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from China.
According to an expose by the Standard, the consignment arrived in Kenya on April 20 via China-South Airline plane.
An employee of the Chinese logistics firm in Kenya, Festus Odhiambo is reportedly said to have moved to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport quickly demanding the release of the consignment by his client, one Fasomo Limited saying that he had imported the PPEs from China.
With him, was a letter bearing Fasomo Limited clearing details which purportedly indicated that the firm paid Ksh130, 000 as deposit for the consignment.
However, as Odhiambo pushed for the clearing of the consignment, the government through State clearing agency arrived at the airport seeking to clear the consignment and have the PPEs disbursed.
This prompted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo to write to Health CS asking that his ministry account for the missing PPEs which were part of the consignment. The letter was dated April 28.
Omamo in her memo to the Ministry of Health indicated that the number of PPEs on the ground was different from what Kagwe’s ministry had indicated.
On May 12 Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau handed over the PPEs to the Ministry of Health.
“Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau also presented to the Ministry of Health 6000 N95 respirators, 500 pieces of isolation gowns, 3000 surgical face masks, 500 surgical protective suits, 40 thermometers and 85,000 face masks from the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing,” Ministry of Health tweeted after receiving the donation.
Kamau wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation on the same day and informed them that some of the PPEs from the donation were missing.
DCI detectives quickly launched a probe into the incident and foiled the attempted theft.
They forwarded the rest of the consignment to the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday said that he is optimistic the “thieves” in the ministry who were involved will be arrested.