MPs plot to oust committee chair over Afya House scandal

Trouble is brewing in Parliament over claims of a cover-up in the probe into the Sh5 billion Health ministry scandal.
A number of the members of the Health Committee have signed a petition to kick out chairperson Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South) and her deputy, Robert Pukose (Endebess), accusing them of being used by forces outside Parliament to cover up the scam.

Differences in the committee emerged over plans to invite key suppliers named in an internal audit report of the ministry.

Ms Nyamai (pictured) is also in the spotlight for allegedly blocking members from asking questions during a committee visit to Mombasa to inspect 99 mobile clinics supplied to the ministry at a cost of Sh1 billion. Some members are now accusing the Jubilee leadership of frustrating the probe.

“We cannot investigate the Afya House scandal with the leadership that we have. We need a new leadership to get to the bottom of this matter… This is one of the gimmicks being used by Jubilee. They don’t want the issues to be investigated fully. The current committee leadership needs to step aside,” said Stephen Mule (Matungulu), who is among those who have signed the petition.

“I saw the petition, I signed it and by the time I was signing it, there were 16 signatures. We now have 20 members,” Mule claimed.

Sources within the 29-member committee confided to The Standard that some members feel that the committee leadership is not keen to invite the suppliers for grilling, although their appearance is crucial to the probe.

“Some members feel that the committee leadership is being pushed not to summon key suppliers who have been mentioned in relation to the scandal. The only way to get some of the powerful suppliers is to remove the current chair and vice-chair who they feel are not keen on the matter,” said the source.

Yesterday, a committee meeting in which the MPs had planned to express their displeasure with the leadership aborted after Ms Nyamai failed to show up after she allegedly after got wind of the plot to oust her. She sent a text message to MPs saying the meeting had been put off.

Although the session had been called to grill Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet on the death of a patient at Kenyatta National Hospital late last year, the ‘coup’ plotters had intended to use it to express their lack of confidence in the committee’s leadership.

After waiting for over an hour for Nyamai to turn up, they held an impromptu meeting before walking out to declare that they had pushed their plans to Tuesday next week.

“Wait for Tuesday. That will be the D-Day. The committee is not working properly to investigate money lost in the Health ministry. Sh3 billion is big money and we will go ahead to oust the chair even if the committee clerk cancels the meeting. I don’t want to pre-empt details of the petition because they may thwart it,” said Fred Outa (Nyando) after the informal meeting.

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