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Police probe loss of Sh54m in ‘fishy’ deals at vets institute

Seth Onyango @SethManex

Detectives have started a probe into the alleged loss of Sh54 million at the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (Kevevapi) through fictitious procurement deals.

On the spot is managing director Jane Wachira, who is alleged to have misappropriated parts of a Sh200 million grant from the exchequer by channelling the cash to non-existent projects.

Preliminary investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have unearthed glaring inconsistencies in expenditure on a number of projects at the institute.

Firstly, Wachira is accused of introducing new expenditures contrary to the original concept given to and approved by Treasury and the parliamentary committee on Agriculture.

Detectives have found that key changes and diversions were reflected in the Bio-security allocation worth Sh54 million, which was not part of the original concept submitted for the grant.

Bio-security renovations included road repairs, perimeter wall fence and external building painting.

Monies allegedly spent irregularly were also channelled towards other ‘repair’ expenditures and extension of office spaces at the institute.

An assessment of the grant proposal shows there was no provision for cabro blocks and road development in the original concept and plan.

Yesterday, Wachira declined to comment on the matter, only insisting that the matter was being handled internally.

“I have no comment at the moment because the matter is already being handled internally though it has been blown out of proportion,” she said before hanging up.

Documents exclusively seen by the People Daily indicates the objectives of the initial concept before it was amended was to implement the contingency plans (CPs) for the control of Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs) in 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years by providing vaccines at reduced costs.

It was also meant to increase vaccination coverage nationally from 10 per cent to more than 80 per cent by providing vaccines against diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

Others are Contagious Bovine Pleuro-Pneumonia (CBPP), Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), Contagious Caprine Pleuro-pneumonia (CCPR) and New Castle Disease (NCD).

But investigators have established the funds never fulfilled the listed aforementioned purposes.

Apparently, the purported repairs were never undertaken as the monies were allegedly stolen.

“Investigations have revealed that there were no such repairs hence it can only be concluded the funds were stolen,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

More suspiciously, the budget amendments were not communicated to the Treasury or the Agriculture ministry.

The law dictates that grant funds must be spent on the proposed projects and programmes and should there be need for amendment, it should be communicated to the relevant authorities.

Detectives are also investigating alleged international procurement where contracts were not issued.

They include sourcing of chemicals, serum, vaccines bottles and reagents from Argentina, China and Germany with any contracts ─ where payment was done prior to delivery.

Additionally, US$767, 289 were paid to some foreign firms on a strength proforma invoices without performance bond or bank guarantees as a security that the firms would honour their obligations.

Sleuths are also probing a case in which Kevevapi earnings significantly dropped by Sh154 million from Sh538 million to Sh447 million in 2015/16 ─ to Sh383 million in 2016/17 representing a non-performing factor of 30 per cent.      

It emerged that Kevevapi has allegedly been releasing vaccines contaminated with Bobie Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and Mycoplasma (bacteria that lack a cell wall around their cell membranes) to the public.

The contaminants reportedly cause massive losses of livestock to farmer in what detectives have likened to the controversial “poison laced sugar” imported to the country this year.

Meanwhile, police are probing alleged irregular recruitment and nepotism at Kevevapi where MD Wachira allegedly promoted his brother Simon Wachira working in accounts department by three job groups contrary to the staff advisory committee recommendations.

Simon is not to have the requisite requirement.

Early this year, tender wars hit Kevevapi and derailed plans to acquire modern machines for packaging of animal medicine.

It pitted Wachira and the head of procurement, Ruttoh Kiprono resulting to board intervention.

On December 21 last year Kiprono wrote Wachira indicating that a company called Leeds Equipment and Systems Ltd had won a tender to supply a filling line at Sh93 million.

Kiprono recommended that Leeds be awarded the tender to supply the filling line since its bid was the lowest for the four units.

However, the tender evaluation committee recommended that the contract be given to Medsurge Healthcare Ltd, which quoted Sh299 million, which was more than triple Leeds’ quote.

The DCI are now investigating to see the links between Wachira and the Medsurge. The case is court.

ENDS

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