Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), on Monday, June 5, disclosed that investigations to net individuals who allegedly gained immense wealth from Covid tenders were advanced.
In a media interview, EACC Assistant Director Judith Shamalla announced that the anti-graft body had concluded investigations on suspects linked to the Ksh7.8 billion scheme.
According to Shamalla, the outgoing Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Noordin Haji, received some of the files linking unnamed individuals to the purchase and supply of Covid-19 emergency commodities at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) that led to the irregular expenditure of public funds.
"In terms of the Covid billionaires, we have already investigated. Some files are with the DPP, and some we are yet to conclude," Shamalla stated.
"The wheels of justice are very simple. The EACC investigates and passes it to DPP, who forwards it to Judiciary," she added.
At the same time, Shamalla revealed that some cases were dropped after the investigative officers failed to find the requisite evidence to prosecute the suspects.
"For the withdrawal, that is the role of the DPP. He has the reasoning behind it, and the courts are also involved," EACC Assistant Director stated.
She dismissed reports that the cases were closed, insisting that the anti-graft agency was working to foster accountability and bring to book all the perpetrators in line with President William Ruto's resolve in tackling misappropriation.
What the Scandal Involved
Various reports accused individuals and independent companies of unlawfully benefiting from Covid tenders. Some companies allegedly received multi-billion deals and failed to supply the requisite emergency materials, forcing the country to depend on foreign aid.
Various reports tabled to the Senate showed that contracts worth millions were given to companies with connections to power brokers.
Other materials were supplied but at overpriced rates surpassing the market price.
Following the expose, several company directors and political leaders were grilled about the scandal.
What Uhuru Said on Covid Billionaires
On August 27, 2020, former President Uhuru Kenyatta responded to the scandal by giving EACC 21 days ultimatum to nail the suspects.
"Following the allegations of impropriety at KEMSA, the relevant investigative agencies of our country are currently fully seized with the matter. However, given the compelling public interest in the matter, the relevant agencies should expedite their ongoing investigations and conclude the same within 21 days from the date hereof," Uhuru directed.
He, however, exited the highest office in the country before the investigations were completed.
Ruto, who served as his deputy then, capitalised on the scandal to popularise his presidential bid. Ruto hit out at the Jubilee administration, alleging that the suspects walked scot-free due to selective implementation.
"The COVID billionaires escaped because they were friends with the people who wanted to fight corruption. If the fight against corruption was left to institutions the covid billionaires would be behind bars right now," Ruto stated.
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