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Ex-Health PS dropped from mobile clinics suit – Business Daily

Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG
The anti-corruption watchdog has dropped Principal Secretaries Nicholas Muraguri and Khadija Kassachoon from a court case involving the procurement of the controversial Sh800 million mobile container clinics by the Ministry of Health seven years ago.
Also dropped are nine public officers implicated in the graft scandal that occurred in 2015 during the first term of former President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Then, Dr Muraguri (pictured) and Dr Kassachoon were working as director of medical services and principal secretary, respectively, in the ministry.
The two are now serving as Principal Secretaries in the Ministries of Lands and Labour in that order.
The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) told the court that dropping Dr Muraguri, Dr Kassachoon and the nine other defendants from the suit was because “the investigations by the EACC have revealed that they acted in the performance of their official duties”.
The Commission filed the suit in January 2018, seeking orders for recovery of Sh800 million from the two principal secretaries and 19 other defendants, including trading companies.
Termination of the suit against the 11 leaves EACC pursuing the remaining 10 defendants.
In the recovery suit, the commission alleges that companies and Ministry of Health officials inflated the cost of the prefabricated clinics from Sh309 million to Sh800 million.
It seeks an order for payment of the sum of Sh800 million against the defendants jointly and severally.
It also seeks a declaration that the subject tender award and contract were predicated on a crime.
Apart from Dr Muraguri and Dr Kassachoon the other defendants dropped from the suit are Benn Khadiagala, Mamo Umuro, Peter Gachenge, Elkana Ong’uti, Susan Otieno, Dr Ombacho Kepha Mogere, Ibrahim Maalim, Izaq Okoth Odongo and Kipkerich Chumo Koskei.
The remaining defendants now include Estama Investment, Business Capital Access Limited, Diversity Distribution Limited, Medafrica Limited, Njage Makanga, Ephantus Maina Thiga, Kariuki Ireri Njage, Abdulatif Ali, Stephen Matibs Njama and Julius Nyamohanga Rioba.
Kenya Goodland Investments Co. Ltd and Edmar Enterprises Limited are listed as interested parties in the suit.
The alleged graft occurred in 2015 and was revealed through a special audit report on the statements of accounts for the Ministry of Health.
Dr Muraguri was later elevated to the position of principal secretary in the said ministry and in 2017 he was transferred to the Lands Ministry in a similar capacity where he is still serving.
READ: How PS Muraguri hid Sh63bn MES contracts
Dr Kassachoon was transferred to the Ministry of Labour and Social protection.
High Court judge Esther Maina has since allowed the EACC to amend its court pleadings as a result of the removal of the two PSs and the nine others.
The judge dismissed the objection raised by three of the remaining defendants — Ephantus Maina Thiga, Kariuki Ireri Njage and Stephen Matibs Njama — against the EACC’s intention.
The trio had opposed the EACC’s application for reasons that it was Dr Muraguri who initiated the procurement process by seeking approval to buy the clinics through restricted tendering. They also argued that it was Dr Kassachoon who “approved the said memo on May 13, 2015” (meaning the request for use of restricted tendering).
In addition, though Mr Thiga is allegedly liable for having been a member of both the ministerial Tender Committee and the Evaluation Committee, Dr Kassachoon was the appointing authority.
But Justice Maina said the three defendants did not demonstrate how they will be prejudiced by the amendment or how the same will result in violation of the principles of governance, equity, social justice, equality, non-discrimination, transparency, integrity and accountability.
ALSO READ: Muraguri moved to Lands ministry in reshuffle
The judge said Section 56(B)(2) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act empowers the Commission to negotiate and enter into a settlement with any person against whom it has brought a civil claim or application in court.
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Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.