Inmates and remandees are being turned away by Kenyatta National Hospital due to a Sh31 million unpaid bill by the Prisons Department. Prisoners are suffering as the standoff between the two State agencies remains unresolved.
The grandstanding between KNH and the Prisons Department was unveiled when Joseph Irungu alias Jowie, a chief suspect in the murder of Monica Kimani, ended up with painkillers for his arm instead of surgery.
Irungu, who is remanded at Industrial Area Remand Prison, was expected to be admitted to the referral hospital’s Ward 6A for an operation on Monday but he was turned away. Zeinab Hussein, the principal secretary in the State Department for Correctional Services, recently froze the payment of Sh6 billion pending bills until the entities that supplied goods and services justified their pay.
It is not clear whether KNH was a casualty of the freeze as the Sh31 million debt owed by prisons authorities had accrued over the past one year. The referral hospital’s Director of Clinical Services, Peter Masinde, said the Prison’s account had been frozen and warned that KNH would only handle emergency cases from the correctional facility until the debt was cleared.
Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) refused to perform a surgery on Joseph Irungu alias Jowie.
The hospital has been turning away inmates and remandees due to unpaid arrears by the Prisons Department. Reports indicated that the Prisons Department owed KNH Ksh31 which had accrued over the past one year.
Jowie, who was remanded at Industrial Area Remand Prison, was expected to undergo an operation on Monday. His lawyer Sam Nyaberi stated that although his client was due for admission for a surgical operation on his arm the procedure had not started.
Nyaberi stated that Irungu’s parents had offered to pay the bill and deposited some money, but the hospital turned down the payment, saying the inmate had been brought in by the State.
“Prisons owes KNH a lot of unpaid bills. Jowie’s parents paid some money for purposes of securing that operation. KNH said they don’t deal with individuals if they have been brought in by the prisons authorities. It’s a procedural standoff,” said Nyaberi.
According to the lawyer, Irungu’s arm was wasting away and he could not feel part of it, and he was not receiving any treatment.
Irungu has been going to KNH for regular check-ups, but his lawyer termed them a sham as he was only being given painkillers.
“He is not being treated. There are no check-ups. These guys just stamp his documentation and say they have seen him, and give him painkillers,” Nyaberi stated.
The lawyer said he would file an application in court to enable Irungu to get access to treatment.