UK Development Minister Andrew Mitchell was on Tuesday, June 6, grilled for two hours for funding a hospital in Nairobi accused of detaining a new mother.
Mitchell was questioned by UK MPs for overseeing a funds drive that saw the hospital's receive tens of millions of pounds yet it violated the human rights of the unidentified woman and her newborn.
MPs on the international development committee tabled evidence alleging that the hospital in question detained the woman over a Ksh225,162 bill.
Responding to the claims, Mitchell told the committee that the UK had been informed of developments regarding her detention and that significant steps had been taken to avert the recurrence of the issue.
"Obviously, we strongly encourage scrutiny. I hope we will be able to do more to underline the importance of transparency," the Minister stated.
Mitchell further defended the investments arguing that they were all approved by relevant stakeholders.
"Investments were made according to instructions from the shareholder at that time. I cannot tell you whether they would be allowed today," the Minister insisted.
Following the revelation, UK MPs asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to implement new policies to guide overseas investments. They called for proper scrutiny before releasing the funds.
Currently, the UK is funding projects in the country worth Ksh500 billion. The partnership is aimed to combat climate change, create jobs and generate affordable electricity for Kenyans.
"These investments are flagship projects of the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership – an ambitious five-year agreement which is unlocking mutual benefits for the UK and Kenya," the UK government stated.
On detaining patients, especially women, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja changed the management of various hospitals within the city including Pumwani Hospital and Mama Lucy.
Sakaja's action followed increased cases of neglect and turning away of patients.