What you need to know:
- Others used donations to justify withdrawals from their emergency funds.
- In Embu, the county government is re-purposing an oncology centre into an isolation facility at the Embu Level Five Hospital.
- In Nyeri, Governor Mutahi Kahiga receives at least two consignments of donations per week.
From hiding in offices to running away, county executives in Mount Kenya have tried their best to evade questions on the companies that snapped up multimillion-shilling Covid-19 tenders.
The Nation has, however, established that some counties engaged in direct tendering as others used donations to justify withdrawals from their emergency funds.
One of the bright spots in the region is a new ICU centre at the Murang’a Level Five Hospital. The 35-bed facility has three dialysis machines and 18 fully functional ventilators.
For this project, which cost Sh25 million, the county opted to use local resources. Governor Mwangi Wa Iria said the amount the county spent was considerably lower than it would have cost to contract a private construction firm.
More than Sh200 million was additionally spent on fitting the facility with specialised medical equipment. The county administration estimated that a ventilator would cost up to Sh4 million.
While labour was locally sourced, the county has remained mum over who supplied building materials and the medical equipment.
The county assembly approved an additional Sh20 million to fund operations in the new life-saving facility.
Efforts to get further information on the county’s spending were unsuccessful as the Nation team was barred from accessing the county government offices in Murang’a town.
Oncology centre re-purposed
In Embu, the county government is re-purposing an oncology centre into an isolation facility at the Embu Level Five Hospital.
Construction is being done by Njiru Building Contractors Limited, a family-owned firm based in Embu whose directors are listed as Ms Naomi Wanjeru Njiru and Mr David Ndwiga Njiru.
A spot check by the Nation revealed that the county has a 50-bed isolation centre at Embu Level Five Hospital.
County officials declined to be interviewed on how the administration was spending money it budgeted for the Covid-19 fight. In Kirinyaga County, the budget stalemate between Governor Anne Mumbi and MCAs has hampered the fight against Covid-19.
The county has received Sh116 million from the national government but has only managed to set up a 14-bed isolation ward at Kerugoya Hospital.
Interestingly, findings have shown that the beds were borrowed from a local dispensary.
“We want to know what the county is doing with the money but we are not getting answers,” said Mr John Baptist Kanga, chairman of the county assembly ad-hoc committee on Covid-19.
The administration, however, says it has directed the fast-tracked completion of a wing at the upcoming Kerugoya Hospital Complex to create space for an isolation centre.
In Nyeri, Governor Mutahi Kahiga receives at least two consignments of donations per week – mostly protective gear, sanitisers and foodstuff.
A Covid-19 fund was also set up by the county government and corporate bodies to cushion vulnerable families.
Mt Kenya Academy donated Sh200,000, Co-operative Bank Sh300,000 and Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) donated 22 reusable PPEs kits worth Sh100,000.
Nyeri National Polytechnic and Dedan Kimathi University have been contracted to supply face masks and PPE, but medics complain that they lack the protective gear.
Laikipia County has re-purposed a male ward into a fully equipped critical care unit, with a 16-bed high dependency unit (HDU) and a six-bed ICU.
It has already procured six ventilators from Gradian Health Systems, an American firm, and Micomme in China. Governor Nderitu Muriithi said the county has already spent their entire 2019/2020 emergency fund of Sh138million.