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NMS faults Sonko for withholding Sh253m health funds

By Hillary Mageka
Monday, September 28th, 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta consults with Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (left) and NMS Director General Maj-Gen Mohammed Badi at KICC. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO
In summary

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is now accusing besieged Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko of withholding up to Sh253 million meant to benefit health centres across the city.

In what NMS has described as Sonko’s habitual feuding with NMS Director General Mohammed Badi at the expense of services delivery, the former claims City Hall has refused to surrender some Sh127 million held in a Special Purpose Account at the Central Bank.

According to NMS Director for Health Services Dr. Josephine Kibaru- Mbae, the monies meant to benefit level two and three hospitals is still held by the county and the signatories to the account have not been changed to officers of NMS mandated to execute the function of health.

“These funds are conditional grants that attract penalties when not expended for the correct purpose and when not spent at the correct time,” Dr. Mbae told members of the Senate committee on Health on Monday.

“Other amounts of Sh79 million and Sh47 million meant for user fee forgone for health centres and dispensaries and COVID-19 respectively are still held at the County Revenue Fund Account,” she added.

Health is one of the functions transferred from Nairobi City County to the national government.

Without ability of NMS to access the funds, Dr. Mbae, said NMS has been exerted pressure to execute the Health functions by donors such as DANIDA and account for the funds.

Before the end of the last financial year, she claimed, NMS through its Directorate of Health Services wrote to the Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o not to allow the county government not to dispense off that money.

“We want you (Health Committee) to direct the county government to release the conditional grants funds which they are holding,” she urged the committee chaired by TransNzoia Senator Michael Mbito.

“This money is in the county revenue fund while the other one is in the special account held at Central bank, but they (City hall) are signatories, but they have refused or failed to facilitate NMS to distribute those resources to health centres, dispensaries and level two and three hospitals,” she added.

Terming it not a big deal, she said the refusal by Sonko’s administration to release the funds are just one of the many disputes between NMS and city hall in a growing list of latest quarrels .

According to her, unavailability of the resources have crippled key health services making the some facilities unable to function.

“The senate should help us by directing that the county government stops holding these funds meant for health facilities, which are now under NMS,” she reiterated.

At the same time, the NMS has blamed Sonko’s administration of declining to hand-over a record of all contracts, bills and record of stalled and or on-going projects.

“This has hindered assessment of pending bills, contracted service providers such as security services and completion of stalled projects,” NMS deputy director-general Kang’ethe Thuku who represented his boss Mohammed Badi at the meeting with Senators disclosed.

“We want to ask that you direct the county government to release all contracts to NMS, because these contracts are now happening under NMS,” Thuku noted.

For instance, he said, the NMS has not been provided with any copies of the security firm contracts by the City Hall and the Hatari Security Guards Limited.

The private firm outsourced from 2017 by the Nairobi City County Government to provide hospital security to four hospitals namely Pumwani, Mutuini, Mama Lucy Kibaki and Mbagathi.

“The Senate should independently direct the two parties to provide these documents for review and assist NMS establish the authenticity of the contracts and recommend further action as may be appropriate in law,” he held.

In addition, Dandora phase two dispensary, which President Uhuru Kenyatta directed to be fast tracked under NMS, the previous contract is still held by city hall, which they have refused to release the contracts to NMS.

“It is very difficult to implement the directive and may have again to go through a procurement process, albeit contractors may take us to court,” NMS Director for Health Services on her part said noting that Sonko’s administration has refused to surrender all contracts previously executed by the county government.

Wajir Senator Abdullahi Ali, who chaired the committee session directed that NMS to submit all issues pending on deeds of transfer to senate to enable it fast tracking.

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