Senate wants EACC to probe Busia health department

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 00:00 |
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong appears before Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

A Senate watchdog committee has petitioned the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate Busia County Health and Sanitation department of over irregular variations of contracts.

In particular, the Senate Committee on County Public Accounts and Investments (CPAIC) wants the EACC to unearth circumstances under which the construction project of maternity and newborn unit at Busia County Referral Hospital cost was varied from Sh44.4 million to Sh81.3 million.

Committee had invited Governor Sospeter Ojaamong to respond to audit queries. Ojaamong was  flagged by former Auditor General Edward Ouko in his 2016-17 an audit report.

Report had indicated that county had awarded the contract for the Construction of Maternity and New Born Unit at the County Referral Hospital to Sydcas Construction Limited. 

The contract was to be executed in 12 months from June 19, 2014, to June 19, 2015. As of June 30, 2017, the county executive had paid Sh31.58 million.

“However, physical verification conducted two and half years after expiry of the planned completion date revealed that the work stalled at 40 per cent with no evidence to indicate the project period was extended,” the report.

Work done

In his response, Ojaamong, through his deputy Moses Mulomi, who also acts as Health CEC, said the project stalled because Sydcas Construction Limited was ‘unable to complete the work as per the agreed contract.

“[This] led to re-measure of the works and termination of the contract and hence paid for work done and certified amounting to Sh31, 533, 680,” reads the response.

Ojaamong disclosed that the county contracted Opet Enterprises Ltd at a contract sum of Sh50.53 million to complete the construction works.

The response triggered a barrage of questions from the members of the Senator Sam Ongeri-led committee, who demanded to know why the county did not sue the initial contractor for failing to meet the terms of the contract.

During the grilling session, it emerged that the taxpayer may have not gotten value for money in the project after county government was forced to spend additional Sh37.5 million more on a maternity project that is five years behind its completion date.

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