Legislators give State notice in Sh90b debt
The government has been given seven days to come up with a payment plan on how to settle Sh90 billion owed to a private company.
National Assembly Committee on Health ordered the Ministry of Health, National Treasury and Office of the Attorney General to provide a detailed report on how they intend to pay the firm that supplied anti-malarial drugs and equipment between 1995 and 1997.
The committee chaired by Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, which held a meeting with Principal Secretary Susan Mochache and representatives from offices of the AG and Treasury regretted that the government has for the last 25 years not shown any willingness to settle the bills owed to Equip Agencies Limited despite them supplying the drugs and equipment.
Led by MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), James Murgor (Keiyo North), Muriuki Njagagua (Mbeere North), Captain Ruweida Mohammed (Lamu County Women Rep) and Martin Owino (Ndhiwa), the committee demanded that MoH comes out clear on the issue and explain why it has not settled the bills despite various court orders instructing them to.
“I am directing that within seven days, a meeting between Equip Agencies, Heath PS, Attorney General and Treasury to negotiate and agree on a fee and communicate the same to us.
The ministry should also give us a proposal on how they are willing to pay whether it is by installments or not,” said Chege.
Keter said it is unfortunate that the suppliers are begging MoH to pay them yet they delivered the goods.
Murgor and Ruweida said it is high time the government showed commitment towards paying people who have done clean business with them.
Directive comes after the committee heard that the AG’s office had initially proposed that out of the Sh90 billion, MoH pays Sh4 billion to settle the debt, however, Equip Agencies declined the offer and insisted that they be paid Sh14 billion.
The Sh90 billion ballooned from Sh1.8 billion that was the initial sum of the contract. Equip Agencies lawyer, Waweru Gatonye, said his client was only requesting for what they are owed.
Mochache said the ministry is willing to settle the debt but they do not have adequate funds for this.
“Please note that the ministry is willing and is committed to pay all court awards and pending bills including this one but we do not have adequate funds,” she said.