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The country’s seven referral hospitals are on the spot for failing to properly use Sh4.6 billion to contain the spread of Covid-19.
This comes as a special audit into the utilisation of the Covid-19 funds for the period March 13, 2020 to July 31, 2020, established irregularities in the expenditure by the referral hospitals.
The irregularities include having the Covid-19 funds pay for procurements that were not related to the pandemic.
Others had Covid funds expended on procurements made before the pandemic was first reported in the country on March 13, 2020.
The seven referral hospitals that received the money are Kenyatta University Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRH), which received Sh1.28 billion, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Sh1.26 billion, and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Sh549.5 million.
The others are Coast General Hospital (CGH) Sh500 million, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) Sh400 million, Kitui Referral Hospital Sh300 million and Mandera Referral Hospital Sh300 million.
At KUTRH, a review of the related payment vouchers revealed that the institution had reallocated Sh12.39 million to commitments made before Covid-19 was declared in Kenya on March 13, 2020.
“The authority to reallocate from the Covid-19 funds for these payments was not available to the special audit,” the audit says.
The audit gives details of the payments and expenditure whose procurement had commenced and, in some cases, goods delivered before Covid-19 was found in the country.
But still, payments were made using the conditional Covid grants. For instance, Sh3.3 million was used to pay for the supply and installation of the AC system at the main pharmacy store.
This is notwithstanding that the request for the delivery was made on February 15, 2020.
There is also Sh1.9 million that was paid from the Covid-19 fund for the supply and delivery of fridge and freezer for food storage despite the request for the supply being made on March 4, 2020 through an internal memo.
About Sh431,500 was paid from the Covid-19 fund for desktop computers for the hospital’s CEO and board chairperson.
The request for these goods was made on January 23, 2020 through an internal memo.
Further, Sh408,900 was used for the installation of an AC for a clinical laboratory that was completed on January 31, 2020.
The audit shows that Sh594,000 was spent from the kitty for the supply of iPad leather cases for the request for quotation that was done on February 5, 2020, with Sh1.9 million paid for the supply and delivery of pharmacy store racks for a request that was done on October 24, 2019.
KUTRH is also in the soup for incurring Sh3.9 million for supply and fixing of non-slip mats despite the approval for the requisition being dated October 14, 2019.
The bid opening and professional opinion for the supply were done on January 22, 2020.
The document notes that the management of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital did not provide documents to support expenditures of Sh85 million incurred in the financial year 2019/20 and Sh30 million for 2020/21.
“Under the circumstances, the special audit could not confirm the lawfulness and effectiveness of an amount of Sh115 million from Own Source funds.”
The special audit established that the hospital had only the annual work plan, procurement plan, training plan and budget for its normal hospital operations.
On the contrary, there was no evidence of existence of approved budget, procurement plan and training plan specific to Covid-19 funds utilisation for any of their sources of the Covid-19 funds.
KNH did not have work plans to guide the use of Sh740 million Covid funds.
The funds include Sh490 million for Covid-19 emergency response and Sh140 million for conversion of a day-care centre to a ward for Covid-19 health workers.
“Absence of work plans on utilisation of Covid-19 funds implies inadequate programme planning that may have resulted in inefficient and ineffective utilisation of funds resulting in value-for-money risks,” says the audit.
The audit notes that although KNH was allocated Sh244.66 million for compensation of temporary employees engaged in Covid-19 prevention and mitigation activities, payment vouchers show that Sh263.67 million was spent, resulting in an over expenditure of Sh19.02 million.
Mandera Referral Hospital has been fingered by the auditor-general for Sh228.91 million procurements that lacked professional opinions, contrary to the law.
The audit established that procurements of Sh272.53 million were undertaken through Requests for Quotations (RFQs) and did not meet the threshold set under the regulations.
The audit notes that these procurements should have been done through open tender since the amounts involved were above the RFQ threshold.
It was also established that expenditures of Sh39.86 million was incurred.
However, the procurement procedures had the evaluations done before opening of quotations.
The audit notes that there were missing documents like tender opening and evaluation meeting minutes and missing letters of appointments for the tender opening and evaluation committees.
At the Coast General Hospital, the procurement file did not have evidence to show that the medical equipment supplied and delivered by M/s Surgipham Ltd at a cost of Sh11.6 million was duly inspected.
The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act requires an accounting officer of a procuring entity to establish an ad hoc committee -- the inspection and acceptance committee to test the quality and quantity of goods delivered to confirm compliance with specifications.
“Therefore, the special audit could not confirm whether the right quality and quantity of supplies were delivered,” reads the audit report.
The transfer of Sh300 million from the Kitui General Hospital account to the Kitui County Government Special Purpose Account (SPA) for Covid-19 has been flagged by the special audit as irregular.
The funds had been budgeted for under the County Supplementary II budget. According to the budget, the funds were earmarked for spending in four departments -- Health, Trade, Agriculture and Education, and ICT and Youth Development.