Graft: Kenya now risks losing up to Sh55 billion in aid

 

Kenya risks losing up to Sh55 billion in future aid from the US and other international donors if it fails to institute adequate policies to fight runaway corruption.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday expressed its concerns in what it described as lack of will by the government to tame graft in the country.

It said corruption has watered down Kenya’s credibility among foreign development backers.

Speaking during the HIV/AIDS strategy launch for Nairobi County yesterday, USAID Kenya Deputy Mission Director Tina Dooley-Jones cited the reported loss of Sh5.3 billion at the Ministry of Health as one of the instances that threaten to limit further aid to the country.

“Development partners are watching to see how Kenya handles the recent allegations of funds loss at the Ministry of Health,” she said.

She added that USAID was disappointed that funds meant for the public good ends up in the pockets of top official tasked with overseeing its allocation and usage.

“While we need to celebrate our success, they might be eroded and/or stolen from us,” she added.

Nairobi health county executive member Bernard Muia however assured that “no single coin in funding given to support health activities will get lost”.

The American agency becomes the latest international body to publicly express its concern on Kenya’s ability to honestly spend monies allocated to it to fund health and other development programs.

USAID spent $557.2 (Sh55.7 billion) to fund projects it support in Kenya in the 2015/2016 financial year, with health taking the lion’s share at Sh35.7 billion.

It is one of the major backers of the crusade against HIV in the country, funding the Afya Jijini programme in Nairobi that encompasses maternal health to the tune of Sh3.4 billion.

Kenya is also a major recipient of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), receiving up to Sh60 billion in funding since its inception in 2004.

Earlier this month the Danish government and other global missions wrote to Health Cabinet Secretary Cleoppa Mailu requesting for information on the Afya House scandal that has elicited public outcry.

The Scandinavian country trains health workers at the county level among other projects. It noted that it would not tolerate allegations of fund loss in activities it funds.

It also supports security and energy initiatives such as the 3000 megawatt Lake Turkana Wind Project.

Kenya is also to refund Sh160 million donor money stolen at the Ministry of Health and explain the loss of 730,000 doses of vaccines donated by GAVI Vaccine Alliance.

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