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How Kisumu MP Ken Obura and His Briefcase NGO Frustrated a Ksh.30M Medical Equipment Donation

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Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura

Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura

John Odullah, a lawyer from Karachuonyo n Homabay County, met and struck a rapport with Mr Hans Frederick Dydensborg- the president of Global Medical Aid and an advocate for the Danish Supreme Court, in 2014. Mr Hans was in the country for a conference.

Being a Kenyan of goodwill, Odullah asked Mr Hans if he could make a donation of medical equipment to his home county, to which Mr Hans obliged. Mr Odullah contacted his friend, Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura to be the consignee for the container Mr Hans was going to ship in.

Obura agreed to this and used his NGO (Ken Obura Foundation) to bring it into the country. Being a charitable organisation, they thought it wouldn’t attract huge tax rates. When the shipment docked in Obura’s name, port authorities demanded up to Sh.7M for clearance.

The amount was too huge for the MP so they asked the county government of Homabay to chip in and help. The county government later backed off leaving off the charity project in limbo.

Gutted with impediments and constant demands for money, Mr Hans recently flew in the country to try and get the container cleared. His efforts to get in touch with the consignee, Mr Obura, bore no fruits as the legislator embarked on cat and mouse games. He lied that he was out of the country but was seen in Parliament buildings on the same day.

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Well-wishers loading medical equipment as donations destined for Africa

Well-wishers loading medical equipment as donations destined for Africa

On deeper investigations, Mr Hans realised that the said Ken Obura Foundation only exists on paper with no physical address. Obura, according to the frustrated donor, was plotting with port officials to buy time for the container to be declared late for clearance and put up for auction. He would then swing in, buy it at a reduced value and then sell the consignment to the counties at the market price.

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Items in the container included endoscopy devices, a fundus camera, two x-ray developers, 363 disinfection scopes, eight washing and disinfection machines, a dexa scanner, 30 microscopes, a paraplegic laboratory and 120 infusion single and triple pumps.

Homabay County and it’s neighbours are faced with high HIV/AIDS prevalence, not to mention water-borne diseases and other infections. Add that up with the averagely low income of the residents, and the medical donation would have gone a long way in improving the health and livelihood of the residents, but greed and personal interest have gotten in the way.

For 19 months, the container with medical equipment donation valued at Sh.30M meant for poor Kenyans who are unable to afford quality healthcare lay at the Mombasa port.

Corrupt officials at Mombasa port demanded that Mr Hans pay a Sh.2M bribe to have the container cleared, but he wouldn’t oblige. He turned to Mombasa county to pay the clearance fee and take ownership of the donation, but they too declined the offer.

Defeated and frustrated, Mr Hans redirected the shipment back to Denmark. That’s how Homabay County residents lost out on a Sh30M medical donation.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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