Ruto fires Health PS, Kemsa boss and entire board over Sh4bn mosquito net scandal

PRESIDENT RUTO fires Public Health PS Dr Josephine Mburu, Kemsa CEO and entire board over Sh4bn mosquito net scandal; appoints Irungu Nyakera as board chair.

The move follows a Nation.Africa exposé detailing possible embezzlement of at least $1.353 million (Sh185 million) from a donor-funded campaign that has left the government staring at refunds and potential sanctions from the Geneva-based Global Fund.

Correspondence between the Global Fund and senior Health Ministry officials seen by Nation.Africa indicated that the donor had demanded a refund if no justification is made for flagged spending that ranges from double payment of suppliers and allowances to unsupported purchases during a 2020-2021 malaria awareness campaign.

The civic education drive intended to increase malaria prevention knowledge in areas where the disease is rampant, but may have turned into a gravy train for some health ministry officials as flagged in audits by the National Treasury and the Global Fund.

Because of the scandal, Kenya now risks being blacklisted by the Global Fund, which is set to review several “prohibited practices” that saw at least Sh75 million disappear without a trace. The donor has already threatened to cut its funding for the malaria programme in the 2023-2024 period.

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