The U.S. government has suspended $21 million in direct aid to Kenya‘s Ministry of Health amid concern over corruption, the embassy said on Tuesday, giving emphasis to an issue that is a growing liability for the government before August elections.
Officials at Kenya‘s anti-corruption commission did not return calls seeking comment on Tuesday, but the ministry of health issued a statement.
“The ministry has been raising matters raised in the internal audit investigations following the Quality Assurance audit by the National Treasury,” the statement said.
“Other autonomous institutions … are undertaking independent investigations.”
Last year, Kenya‘s anti-graft chief told Reuters that a third of its state budget – the equivalent of about $6 billion – was lost to corruption every year.
The government disputed the figure, blaming poor paperwork. In October, Kenyatta infuriated voters by telling them he could not tackle corruption because his “hands were tied”. He criticised the judiciary and other agencies for not doing more about the problem.
Kenyan doctors and nurses say the corruption means that hospitals are often left without basic equipment, from drugs to gloves. Kenyan doctors in public hospitals went on strike from December to March, demanding a pay increase and improved working conditions.