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Kenyatta orders ministry of health to publish all COVID-19 procurements amid corruption allegations

FILE PHOTO: President Uhuru Kenyatta

Nairobi, Kenya | XINHUA | Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday directed the Ministry of Health to publish details of all procurements related to COVID-19, particularly those undertaken by the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) amid allegations of corruption.

Kenyatta said the publication of procurement information including winners of tenders is an act of transparency and an anti-corruption measure that should be adopted by all public entities.

“I also hereby direct that the Ministry of Health, within the next 30 days, must come up with a transparent, open method and mechanism through which all tenders and procurement done by KEMSA are available online,” Kenyatta said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The president’s directive comes amid claims of questionable COVID-19 tenders at KEMSA awarded to powerful individuals in the country.

Already, senior officials have been suspended pending the outcomes of the probe by the anti-graft agency.

According to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), preliminary analysis of the probe shows there were irregularities in the issues at hand and there were concerted efforts from within to cover up.

Kenyatta said the level of transparency and through the use of technology, will go a very long way in ensuring that the government has the confidence of people that those placed in institutions are able to manage the resources of the Kenyan taxpayer plus development partners in an open and transparent manner.

The Kenyan leader spoke in Nairobi during the closing session of the virtual COVID-19 conference on building pandemic response resilience by county governments organized by the Council of Governors.

He directed the Ministry of Health to prioritize mental health services, saying it was becoming a serious challenge facing a growing number of Kenyans especially the youth.

“I do hereby direct the Ministry of Health to begin working on an action plan (on mental health) that they can present to us when we have a national conference on COVID-19,” the President directed cabinet secretary in the health ministry.

He said a national conference will be held to review Kenya’s response to the health crisis and develop the country’s post-COVID-19 action plan.

Kenyatta attributed the decline in cases of waterborne diseases in the country in recent months to hygiene protocols instituted to contain the spread of coronavirus.

He said the COVID-19 containment protocols such as regular handwashing should be the “new normal” in Kenya.

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