Mystery still shrouds the secrecy with which bank account belonging to Estama Investment Limited, a firm linked to the Sh1billion controversial medical clinics deal was hurriedly closed down and the all the money withdrawn.
Of interest is how the order to unfreeze the account under investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (Eacc) and within a day wiped out clear effectively weakening an investigation by the anti-graft agency.
Also, the clandestine move dealt a blow to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) which demanded Sh347million in tax arrears.
KRA had ordered KCB , Co-operative and Equity banks to pay it Sh322 million from accounts operated by Estama Investments and Business Capital Access Limited, the firms at the centre of the Sh800 million mobile clinics scandal at the Ministry of Health.
Interestingly, KRA rescinded its move and withdrew the suit.
Earlier, The Informer laid bare an intricate web of companies involving his close friends associated to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Our investigations show Irene Nanayu Osoro, a longtime Personal Assistant to Macharia from NIC Bank whom he dragged to his current docket in the same capacity is directly linked to Medafrica Limited where her sister is a co-director.
Records show Naomi Wanjiku Mirithu, a sister to Macharia’s aide owns a fifth of Medafrica Limited a company cited in the controversial audit with the other shareholding being held by Njage Makanga.
Medafrica is associated with Estama Investments the shadowy company which was paid Sh1 billion to deliver container clinics through the joint ownership of Njage Makanga which was adversely mentioned in the Sh5.2 billion corruption scandal at Afya House.
Interestingly, no annual records have been filed by Medafrica Limited since incorporation. Medafrica Limited is a private company limited by shares that was incorporated on 12th August 2013.
“The names of directors/shareholders of the company with their particulars are indicated as Njage Makanga, a Kenyan citizen of P.O. Box 11321-00400 Nairobi holding 400 shares and Naomi Wanjiku Mirithu, a Kenyan citizen of P.O. Box 11321-00400 holding 100 shares,” Part of the records show.
The Informer established that Osoro’s sister had taken shareholding in Medafrica when working as an internal audit in trust as the law then did not allow Mr Njage to be a sole director in a limited company.
Wanjiku, who currently works with APM Terminals in Mombasa, has since resigned as a director in Medafrica. Macharia’s decision to tag along Osoro in his career progression underlines his trust in the aide who is understood to have served him for over a decade indicating her inclusion in the scandalous deal.
The blow by blow revelations of the much hidden connections are likely to more shed light on the intricate matrix of the individuals behind the scam.
The Afya House scam expose’ came to light following an internal audit commissioned by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu who replaced Mr Macharia at the ministry last December without the knowledge of his immediate former Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri.
Pundits say Mailu and Muraguri survived strained relations marred by silent intense infighting before the latter was moved in a mini reshuffle. The 99 containers improvised as mobile container clinics are still lying idle at the National Youth Service camp in Miritini, Mombasa, more than a year since they were brought into the country.
They were imported from Guangzhou, China, by the Nairobi-based company Estama Investments. Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa ordered their removal from the premises. The clinics, which were to increase access to health services in the slums, were to be part of the Devolution and Planning ministry’s plan to revamp the National Youth Service (NYS) and used to upgrade urban slums.
The internal audit report had unearthed massive theft of public funds through forgery, double payments, illegal budgetary overspending as well as manipulation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS).
Estama was among private companies, civil servants and government departments that benefited from Sh889 million that was diverted from the free maternity programme at the expense of county governments.
Estama was paid the money in three instalments, including Sh400 million on June 27, a transaction for which the payment voucher could not be found during the audit. Even more questionable is the fact that Estama raised a separate purchase order for Sh200 million on June 30 and got paid the same day.
Bernard Muchere, the then head of internal audit at the Ministry of Health defended his audit report stating that ministry officials had engaged in financial malpractices including diversion of funds meant for HIV/Aids programme, free maternity and other projects.
It emerged recently that Estama Investments, the shadowy company at the centre of the controversial importation of 100 container clinics, spent Sh1.4 million to buy and import each unit that were then sold to the government at Sh10 million, official documents show.
Information contained in Estama’s filings with the Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA) digital platform, Simba, shows that the containers were bought in China, transported to Kenya and allegedly delivered to Nairobi at a cost of Sh1,461,388 – meaning the supplier pocketed Sh8.5 million for each unit sold to the government.
The revelation means that Afya House operatives colluded with the suppliers to pay Sh1 billion for the 100 prefabricated containers that cost Sh150 million to buy and transport to Kenya.
KRA documents show that Estama Investment, which was incorporated in Panama and its identity revealed in the Wikileaks Panama Papers, imported a consignment of 20 containers in November 2015 at a total cost of Sh29 million; including the Sh4.9 million it paid in customs duty and another Sh3.9 million in value added tax (VAT), insurance and freight costs.
Health Secretary Mailu had earlier said that Estama Investments supplied all the 100 mobile clinics and had been paid Sh800 million, pending the clearance of Sh200 million.
Mailu said the contract to supply the 100 portable clinics was awarded to Estama on July 17, 2015 and it supplied the consignment by end of year, paving the way for payment.
Official documents show that each of the portable clinics was to be kitted well enough to offer maternal and child health services, including family planning, immunisation, as well as emergency and outpatient services.
The Ministry of Health had earlier remained non-committal on the actual cost of each of the units after an internal audit report indicated that the public may have lost millions of shillings on the contract.
The audit report raised queries on a number of purchases at the Ministry of Health in which the taxpayer may have lost up to Sh5 billion, including the purchase of the mobile clinics for urban slums.