The government has been offering financial support to counties to help them get the appropriate resourced to help in combating COVID-19. The likes of Mombasa, Kitui, Machakos, Nairobi have done a great job at it with the help of county officials and cooperation from the public. However, others are yet to get themselves in shape over 40 days later into the pandemic and high chances are the funds could have been diverted into the pocket so greedy officials.
Officials in counties alleged to have misappropriated COVID-19 funds are under the watch of EACC. Bungoma, Kilifi and North Eastern are among the counties being proved by the corruption watchdog over direct procurement, single sourcing of suppliers mainly food and medical equipment and hiking of prices which has been the most exploited corruption channel for the greedy officials.
According EACC Chairman Twalib Mbarak, claims of inflated prices, tenders being awarded to relatives of those in power, claims of supply of substandard goods and services, and poor planning by counties leading to wastage among issues that have caught their eyes.
“The expenditure is the most vulnerable where there are county officers who do not have integrity. They are taking advantage of the situation but we are tracking them and they should know that crime doesn’t expire. Even after the pandemic, we still go for them,” he noted.
However, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua defended county officials against accusations of using the pandemic to misappropriate funds, saying their actions were guided by Gazette Notice Number 53 signed on April 2 on asset disposal.
EACC sent a circular to Council of Governors asking counties to ensure corruption loopholes are sealed warning that the commission will be keenly monitoring the utilisation and management of public resources by all county governments and State agencies to avert any loss or misuse of public resources during the pandemic.