Governor Sonko accused of withholding health funds
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has accused besieged Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko of withholding up to Sh253 million meant for health facilities across the city.
In what NMS has described as Sonko’s habitual feuding with its Director-General Mohammed Badi at the expense of service delivery, the metroplis claims City Hall has refused to surrender some Sh127 million being held in a Special Purpose Account at the Central Bank of Kenya.
NMS Director for Health Services Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae, the county government is still holding monies meant to benefit level two and three hospitals. Also, the signatories to the account have not been changed to NMS officers to enable them execute their mandate.
“These funds are conditional grants that attract penalties when not expended for the correct purpose, and at the correct time,” Mbae told members of the Senate Committee on Health on Monday.
“Other amounts of Sh79 million and Sh47 million meant for forgone user fees for health centres and dispensaries and Covid-19 respectively are still held at the County Revenue Fund Account,” she added.
Mbae observed that said donors such as Danida has been exerting pressure on NMS to execute the health functions 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, asking her not to allow the county dispense off that money.
“We want you (Health Committee) to direct the county government to release the conditional grants funds it is holding,” she urged the committee chaired by Trans Nzoia 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. However, they have refused or failed to facilitate NMS to distribute those resources to health centers, dispensaries and level two and three hospitals,” she added.
Mbae said the refusal by Sonko’s administration to release the funds are just one of the many disputes between NMS and City Hall.
She said unavailability of the resources has crippled key health services making some facilities unable to function.
“The Senate should help us by directing that the county government stops holding 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.