Kagwe, US Ambassador Meet Amid Ksh400B Aid Withdrawal Threat

File image of US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter
  • Health CS Mutahi Kagwe held a meeting with United States Ambassador Kyle McCarter on Tuesday, August 25, days after it emerged that USAID and Global Fund had threatened to withdraw Ksh400 billion in aid.

    The donors wrote to the Ministry of Health threatening to withdraw aid meant to support HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria programs for the next three years. This is after allegations of mega-corruption in the use of Covid-19 funds and donations emerged.

    While details of Kagwe’s meeting with McCarter remained scanty, the Ministry of Health issued a brief statement revealing that the CS described the United States as one of Kenya’s most valuable partners to Kenya’s health sector.

    The Ministry further confirmed that ongoing trade deal negotiations involving the US and Kenya featured prominently in the talks. 

    File image of US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter
    Capital Group

    “The two spoke about the trade negotiations between the two countries particularly on inviting American businesses to set up in Kenya,” the statement read in part.

    Donors had issued the threat to withdraw aid after details emerged of suspect procurement schemes at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) that could have cost taxpayers billions.

    KEMSA CEO Jonah Mwangi Manjari is among officials that were suspended in the wake of the scandal that was amplified by an NTV exposé by Dennis Okari.

    The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) promised that investigations into private companies at the center of the scam would be concluded before alleged perpetrators were brought to justice.

    “This is a big and wide case that will take time to process. The case has very many angles We want to establish whether these companies have a history and profile or whether they are briefcase entities,†EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak stated on Monday, August 24.

    In a diferent statement that attracted backlash, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary General Edwin Sifuna had cautioned that sensational reporting on the scam would have implications on the international community’s support for Kenya.

    “We will keep raising any concerns we have about government operations, specifically Covid-19-related issues, through the proper channels, without unnecessary drama and hubris.

    “For that reason, we ask that media houses and other news agencies exercise responsibility in their coverage, because sensational and baseless reports may compromise international support for our Covid-19 war, endangering ordinary Kenyans and not just the leaders,†he asserted.

    The Health Committee in the Senate has also been looking into the matter, with top officials from the Ministry of Health among those grilled as part of the probe.

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during a press briefing in May 2020.
    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during a press briefing in May 2020.
    The Standard

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