US, UK governments take Mutahi Kagwe to task over theft of COVID-19 funds

US ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter. [Photo courtesy]

The UK and US governments have taken Kenya’s Ministry of Health to task in explaining how COVID-19 funds for donors have been used so far in light of embezzlement claims.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Mariott and the US ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter on Tuesday jointly asked Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe to take responsibility.

This follows an exposé indicating a grand heist where officials from the ministry in cahoots with cartels from the counties inflated the prices of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reap from funds donated by both the US, the UK and European Union.

Mariott held that Kagwe should take the fall for the scandal because he has failed to rein in on the rogue officials in his ministry.

She argued that he has failed in setting expectations and disciplinary measures for the ministry which is why the theft of Coronavirus funds continues brazenly.

“I am a very big believer in the chain coming from the top and we have seen President Uhuru Kenyatta crackdown on corruption. Stealing money at the expense of the death of your fellow citizens is not acceptable. No system is perfect but what matters is how it is going to be fixed,” Marriott stated during an interview with Citizen TV.

McCarter on his part said that CS Kagwe has a role in being accountable to donors so does the ministry officials who handle donor aid in the ministry.

He said that it was appalling that some elements would steal funds during a global pandemic.

“It is not just about Ksh 800 billion of public funds every year. It is about the value of the Big 4 Agenda. If you get rid of politics you can achieve the Big 4. They are stealing Kenyan lives through the PPEs scandal and there needs to be a huge outrage on this scandal,” McCarter remarked.

The diplomats whose countries are among the biggest donors in Kenya spoke a day after Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua demanded that President Uhuru Kenyatta and CS Kagwe tell Kenyans how COVID-19 funds have been used so far.

McCarter had earlier threatened that donors would stop channelling aid to Kenya over rampant corruption.

He asked the Kenyan youth eyeing leadership positions to correct this shortcoming lest Kenya remains a donor aid blacklisted country.