In this whole Sh5 billion Mafia House scandal, Kenyans are probably focused on the wrong thing.
In recent times, stealing tax payers’ money has stopped being as straightforward as it used to be. For instance, Sh5 billion will not simply be transferred to personal accounts. There is a long trail of paperwork pointing to a delivered service or product. However, the devil is often in the product.
The government and its messengers will want us to believe that no money was lost because of the simple fact that products were delivered. Appearing on NTV’s PressPass on Monday night, Dennis Itumbi and Ngunjiri Wambugu kept pestering Business Daily managing editor to deduct Sh1 billion from their working Sh5 billion lost money theory, because containers amounting to that figure have been found at an NYS yard in Mombasa.
The ministry gave an order and made payment for 100 mobile clinics, but what was delivered was fabricated containers. And I dare say this is where the real thievery happened.
In what world does a fabricated container cost Sh10 million? There are many local industry rates, but the range for fabricating a 40ft container into a house or clinic is less than Sh1.5 million. When done in China and in bulk like the ones in question, the cost will obviously reduce significantly.
The 100 containers were bought from Chinese company Guangzhou Moneybox by Estama Investments. Payment made was to Estama Investments was Sh1 billion. KRA received less than Sh50 million tax in total.
For a fabricated shipping container to cost more than Sh10 million, it’s either very special or this is outright theft.
We did a bit of digging, and it turns out Guangzhou Moneybox have a shop on Alibaba. They have different products, but the one that looks closest to the clinic containers cost between Sh365,000 and Sh1.16 million depending on the total number purchased.. the more, the cheaper.
For 100 units it’s likely Estama Investments paid under Sh500,000 for each. This is inclusive of fabrication.
The pre-fabricated clinics have a consultation room, a laboratory space, a pharmacy space, a toilet and come with air conditioners.
They do not come with any expensive medical gadgets to warrant such a high price.
And indeed, Muhuri Kenya has a fully installed and functioning container clinic in Mombasa which they purchased for only Sh2 million.
With Estama Investment’s economies of scale, it is highly unlikely that they spent more than Sh1 million per container. Maybe Sh1.5 million after tax.
Inclusive of the shipping cost and other clearing charges, we can have a working figure of Sh2 million max.
So was the Sh10 million an arbitrary figure? Apparently not.
It turns out that a truly mobile clinic, like the ones purchased by the First Lady’s Beyond Zero campaign cost Sh10 million.
$115,000 to be exact according to this report by the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA).
But how does a Sh10 million mobile clinic look? It turns out very different from the containers in the Mafia House scandal. For a start, it is mobile.
So what conclusions can we draw from this?
It’s easy really, taxpayers lost about Sh800 million from this single transaction. Considering the containers have remained in an NYS yard of more than 1 year, the lost value is even more.