At State House Nairobi yesterday, UK High Commissioner Nic Hailey was in attendance as President Uhuru Kenyatta handed seven ambulances, purchased with money recovered from a UK company found guilty of bribery to get a Kenyan contract, to Kenyan counties.
Thes ambulances will be used to support the health referral system and will be based at health centers that really need them.
The money used to purchase the ambulances was recovered from British Eastbourne based security and financial printing company Smith & Ouzman which was involved in the Chickengate scandal. Two executives from the security printing company were found guilty and jailed for a total of four and a half years for bribing Kenyan election and national examination officials to secure multi-million-shilling contracts.The company was also fined £2.2million at Southwark Crown Court for making corrupt payments to public officials to secure business contracts in Kenya and Mauritania.
During his visit to Kenya in March, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson handed over the ambulances to President Kenyatta.
These ambulances have now been handed over to Laikipia, Wajir, West Pokot, Kitui, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nairob counties.
Governors Joshua Irungu, (Laikipia), Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir), Simon Kachapin (West Pokot), Julius Malombe (Kitui), Evans Kidero (Nairobi) and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) received the ambulances on behalf of their counties.
The seven counties have a unique referral system challenges, largely related to remoteness as well as existence of a huge network of primary care facilities in relation to the number of hospitals available to the people.
All ambulances have been fitted with Basic Life Support equipment to ensure safe transport of patients.
Speaking during the function, President Kenyatta said his Government is working closely with the Governments of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Jersey on a tripartite agreement-Framework for the return of assets from corruption and crime in Kenya (FRACCK).
The President said the repatriation of proceeds of corruption arising from the Smith & Ouzman case is a significant step taken by the Government of Kenya and the Government of the United Kingdom to ensure that corruption does not pay and that the corrupt will not enjoy proceeds of crime.
These Ambulances will go a long way in saving lives and enhancing emergency response services in the selected Counties which were in dire need of this support.
The President said although the process has taken long because of the legal complexities of confiscation and repatriation, today’s ceremony marks the most important step in ensuring that the repatriated monies are applied to the benefit of the people of Kenya.
The President extended invitation to other partners to join the collaborative framework.
He said his Government is now prepared to roll out a new 5-year strategy to fight corruption as captured in the Jubilee Manifesto and in the Medium Term Plan 3 whose focus shall be prevention, recovery and restitution.
The new strategy will include interventions targeting societal change in attitude towards corruption and the adoption of a progressive value system at all levels of the society starting with school going children.
“This is why we have moved to clean up our examinations process and infrastructure,” said the President
Other measures to be taken by the Government include investing in technology and re-engineering service systems to eliminate opportunities for corruption; adoption of a whole of government approach to fighting corruption (collective policy and administrative measures).
The Government will also be working with partners, to significantly upscale its ability to recover proceeds of corruption and crime in Kenya or anywhere in the world.
The President pointed out that because of the challenges the government has faced before, it now supports and champions the approach of partnership in tackling corruption.
“I have insisted that all frontline Agencies involved in the fight against corruption must work together under the Multi Agency Framework which I established in November, 2015,” said the President.
The President also used the occasion to thank the UK Government and High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey for their help establishing the Kenya Child Protection Unit.
Also present were Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich, Cleopa Mailu, Attorney General Githu Muigai and Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Arch-Bishop Eliud Wabukala among others.