At the heart of a tussle between Heath Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and governors is the Medical Equipment Leasing Scheme (MES), the county chiefs who have appeared before the Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee have described the project as a ‘rip off’ but the CS is of a different view, she says that the issue has been blown out of proportion.
Committee chairperson Moses Kajwang while grilling Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Tuesday said all governors who have appeared before the committee have said that the plan does not represent value for money adding the price of the equipment has been inflated from the initial Ksh 98 million that it was supposed to cost each county annualy when it was being launched in 2013 to Ksh 200 million.
Speaking during an interview on Citizen TV’s Daybreak on Thursday, CS Kariuki said that facts in the leasing of the equipment have grossly been misrepresented to paint the scheme as a white elephant.
“If we look at this carefully we will move from this mob justice when we are communicating the increase to the reality and then we will come back and say, was it worthwhile and was there value and then we will speak to Kenyans themselves,” said CS Kariuki.
The Health Cabinet Secretary faulted senators for the probe saying that they were consulted before the project took off in 2013.
According to CS Kariuki, a number of factors have contributed to the increase in the price of leasing the equipment from Ksh 98 million to Ksh 200 million.
• Increase in the number of facilities covered from 96 by an additional 21 facilities which is expected to cost the counties another Ksh 3.2 billion.
• The intended ICT project which will cost the devolved units a whooping Ksh 4.7 billion.
• Additional investment in lab equipment which will cost counties Ksh 1.1 billion shillings.
• Variation in exchange rates since the investment was made in US dollars.
However the governors have protested the scheme which sees Ksh 200 million deducted from their equitable share annualy, something that the senators have jumped at.
While grilling Sonko, Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga alleged that the government is even leasing trolleys.