The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has called on the government to undertake an urgent, independent and transparent audit of the use of all COVID-19 funds following an exposé that revealed how resources meant to aid the country’s response against the pandemic have been looted systematically since March.
In a statement to newsrooms on Monday, KEPSA also called for an audit of the funds collected by the COVID-19 Fund from the private sector, as a means to restore trust between the public and the institutions mandated to help Kenya overcome the disaster.
“KEPSA is deeply disturbed by these allegations, which if proven will constitute one of the most heinous economic and health crimes against the people of Kenya, coming at a time when Kenyans are being asked to make enormous personal, financial and business sacrifices to combat the spread and impact of COVID-19. As an immediate first step,” the lobby said in a statement.
On its part, KEPSA is appealing on its members to undertake urgent and rigorous self-examinations in order to remove any weaknesses that allow malpractices leading to corruption.
These self-examinations should include expelling from their memberships any companies or individuals found to be involved in the embezzlement of COVID-19 funds.
The lobby has also called on the government to make amendments to the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (PPDA) Regulations to include a stipulation that government only does business with those companies that commit to full transparency.
KEPSA defines transparency as the mandatory online publishing of prices of goods that the government procures, publishing the procurement process for goods and projects for greater transparency and assisting the government in efforts to combat corruption.
While maintaining that even funds raised by the COVID-19 Fund should be audited, KEPSA threw its weight behind the Jane Karuku led board revealing that the body has raised Ksh3 billion so far from corporates, foundations, religious institutions, multinationals and Kenyans.
An investigative piece broadcasted by NTV on Sunday exposing theft of masks, reagents and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donated to Kenya by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has attracted the ire of Kenyans who are now calling on the government to account for the items.
The investigative piece also revealed that the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) allegedly cannot account for Ksh43 billion meant to help it procure medicine, reagents and PPEs for national and county hospitals.
The piece also exposed how companies associated with well-connected individuals in the country hijacked the donation meant for Kenya and diverted majority of it to a company in Tanzania and sold part of it to KEMSA.