At least 15 top Kenyan government officials and businesspeople are to be recommended for prosecution in connection with the alleged theft of tens of millions of dollars meant for purchase of Covid-19 medical supplies.
Investigators have uncovered how government tenders were handed out to politically connected individuals and businesses, in breach of procurement regulations.
In a report to a joint Senate Committee on Health and Covid-19 on Wednesday, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said “investigations had established criminal culpability on the part of public officials in the purchase and supply of Covid-19 emergency commodities at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) that led to irregular expenditure of public funds”.
The EACC has recommended prosecution of all officials at Kemsa and the ministry of health who it believes were behind the scandal.
A second phase of investigations will target companies that illegally benefited from the tenders.
Top officials of Kemsa have defended themselves from the allegations.The chief executive officer and two other Kemsa officials have been suspended as investigations continue.
President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to get to the bottom of what had happened. On 26 August, he ordered investigatory agencies to finalise the investigations within 21 days, but that deadline was missed.
The EACC has already forwarded its initial report and recommendations to the director of public prosecutions who is expected to announce the arrest and prosecution of suspects involved.
Kenya has so far recorded more than 37,000 cases of coronavirus with 659 fatalities. More than 24,000 people have recovered, and the country has over the last few weeks seen a drop in number of Covid-19 cases reported.