.The United States Government has suspended foreign aid to Kenya over increased corruption. This is a warning shot from President Trumps administration, which has vowed to isolate countries that do not show transparency and accountability in spending public resources.
The US has stopped a Sh2.1 billion financial aid targeted at the health sector, House. The move made through the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) has put thousands of lives and jobs at risk, and is likely to hurt at least seven critical programmes.
“We took this step because of ongoing concern about reports of corruption and weak accounting procedures at the Ministry,” said US Ambassador Robert Godec said yesterday, following the Monday announcement in a statement released last evening.
He said the action is intended to ensure that health care spending reaches those in need, and to protect US taxpayer’s money.
He said the US government is working with the Ministry on ways to improve accounting and internal controls and hope to restore the funding when appropriate progress is made.
Statement Regarding the Suspension of Assistance to the Ministry of Health
May 9, 2017
The U.S. Embassy has suspended approximately $21 million (2.1 billion KSH) in assistance to the Ministry of Health. This represents only a small portion of the overall U.S. health investment in Kenya, which exceeds $650 million (65 billion KSH) annually.
We took this step because of ongoing concern about reports of corruption and weak accounting procedures at the Ministry. The action is intended to ensure that health care spending reaches those in need, and to protect U.S. taxpayer money. We are working with the Ministry on ways to improve accounting and internal controls and hope to restore the funding when appropriate progress is made.
Our support for life-saving and essential health services, such as providing anti-retroviral therapy for a million Kenyans, is not affected by the suspension. We will continue to provide funding for health services and medications going directly to Kenyans.
Robert Godec, US Ambassador
The freeze comes after the loss of billions of shillings at Afya House early in the year that put Cabinet Secretary Cleophas Mailu and his then Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri on the spot. Dr Muraguri was later transferred to the Ministry of Lands. An auditor estimated Ksh5 billion was lost in but the ministry insisted the amount stood at Ksh3 billion.
Direct support to the Ministry of Health and all departments will be affected by the suspension. Key areas covered by the suspended aid include salaries and wages of all staff under the Global Health Security Agenda and US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief. Administrative staff could miss salaries during the period of the suspension.
The cut will also stop all domestic and international travel for meetings, trainings and conferences. All costs and planning assistance associated with hosting these meetings have also been frozen.
Brian Woody, USAID Kenya’s contracting officer, said the agency had suspended activities such as participation in meetings including technical working groups, coordination committees, steering committees and intergovernmental committees or other similar groups with the Ministry of Health.