KENYA: Lobby sues Health CS, seeks data on use of donor cash

March 2021 theStar; A lobby group working to promote health related human rights in the country has taken Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe to court for failing to provide them with documents on how funds sent by GAVI and other donors have been utilised.

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and Aids (KELIN) had written to the Health ministry seeking access to information and documents showing intergovernmental agreement on the retention of county functions that are the immunization functions by the national government.

Their request came after an audit report by Global Alliance for Vaccines Immunization (GAVI) on utilization of monies meant for immunization revealed some questions.

Gavi provided significant financial and in kind vaccine support to Kenyan Expanded Programme of Immunization (KEPI).

As at September 30, 2015 Kenya had received $391.8 million (Sh43 billion) of support of which cash grants amounted to $26.1 million (Sh2.8 billion); out of this $11.5 million (Sh1.2 billion) was paid through partners and the Ministry of Health received $14.6 million (Sh1.6 billion).

GAVI and the ministry agreed that the amount of $26.1 million was to cover operational costs for a measles-rubella campaign and support the introduction of new vaccines-pentavalent, yellow fever, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, rotavirus and injectable polio vaccine together with the human papilloma virus demonstration project.

At the end of the project GAVI conducted an audit of KEPI between September 2015 and March 2016. The main objective of the audit was to ensure that the funds released to the ministry were utilized in accordance with the agreed terms and conditions and resources were used for the intended purposes.

The audit covered income received, expenditures incurred, procurement activities as well as supply management at national, provincial and district level.

The key findings of the report included questioned expenditures of $1.6 million, balances held of GAVI funds not utilized of $0.25 million and 0.73 million doses of pneumococcal vaccines not accounted for.

Thereafter the ministry reimbursed GAVI $1.6 million in a single installment in the month of September and October 2016 which cost Kenyan tax payer a loss of Sh160 million, a loss that could have been avoided if there had been adherence to process of law.

Consequently KELIN and other organizations asked to be given copies of documentations showing transfer of payment of the money in question from the Health ministry to GAVI together with information on measures put in place to ensure compliance with the audit report.

Also sought is a report on the action taken against the persons adversely mentioned in the audit report whether the minister referred the case to relevant authorities for investigations and possible prosecution.

The organization also asked to be given copies of documentations showing transfer of payment of the money in question from the Health ministry to GAVI together with information on measures put in place to ensure compliance with the audit report.

But the ministry has not provided the documents sought forcing the lobby group to move to court.

And now KELIN wants the court to make declarations that the denial on the part of the ministry to provide the documents sought amounts to infringement of constitution and right to access to information.

It also wants the ministry compelled to provide information sought.

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