Government demands apology from NMG over alleged health scam

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By KBC reporters

The government has reprimanded the nation media group over what it says is skewed and defamatory reporting.

Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru says the group has been on a mission to paint the government in bad light through deliberately slanted reporting of the ministry of health interim audit report.

In a letter addressed to the Media Council Chairperson Charles Kerich, the government is particularly irked by NMG for seeking to depict it corrupt, inept and full of thieves.

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Mucheru says the media house deliberately slanted and skewed the stories on the interim audit report of the Ministry of Health.

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Mucheru says while the government will not discourage interrogation of government projects and performance, the freedom of the press must be exercised responsibly.

In the alleged scandal, the Ministry of Health was said to have lost Ksh5B allocated to the free maternity programme as well as the immunization of children.

Through the Media Council of Kenya complaints commission, the government wants the said media house held into account as regards injurious publications.

An apology with the same veracity as was the case in the original story is also among the demands made by the government.

The CS says the move does not in any way amount to muzzling the freedom of press but a demand for fair coverage.

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Meanwhile, Health Principal Secretary Dr Nicholas Muraguri  was Wednesday grilled by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives at Integrity house on the alleged scandal.

EACC raided the Ministry of Health offices last week on Friday after media reported alleged loss of the funds.

The Internal Auditor Bernard Muchere who raised the red flag on the matter appeared before investigators on Tuesday afternoon, as well as the Head of the Accounting department Joyce Mutugi.

The Health CS Cleopa Mailu will be questioned by EACC detectives Thursday.

A statement from the commission said more officials will be called for questioning as well as suppliers and other persons of interest in the matter.

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Demos

The alleged loss of money continued to spark public outcry with National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) holding demonstrations calling for the resignation of Muraguri.

NCSC leader Morris Odhiambo said Dr. Muraguri should take personal responsibility for the alleged loss at the ministry of health.

Odhiambo said what the group is doing is trying to help the Jubilee administration to fight corruption by applying pressure on public officers who have been mentioned in corruption to resign.

More demos will be held Thursday.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Transparency International Kenya, Third Way Alliance among other Civil Society Organizations have planned a mass public protest against entrenched corruption in the Kenyan Public Sector.

 

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