November 29, 2022

Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo-Omollo on Wednesday had a rich breakfast: Fish fingers and a choice of tea or cocoa, brown or white bread with margarine, jam, marmalade, wimbi porridge, and cereals.

For lunch, beef stew, vegetable rice, chapati and a fruit platter were on the menu, while buttered rice with fried fish, washed down with fruit juice, was served for dinner. Also on the menu were ugali balls, bean stew, and vegetables.

This is a far cry from the prison staple of weevil-infested, half-cooked ugali and gruel, with a few beans and limp vegetables floating in it.

From the corner window of her VIP penthouse room atop Kenyatta National Hospital, Ms Omollo had soothing views of the Nairobi National Park in the distance. Outside her room, three guards from Kenya Prisons sat in a spotlessly clean corridor.

The guards were here ostensibly to keep her in, although her life is hardly any hardship in what is more of a luxury hotel than a hospital ward. Only visitors who produced letters of authorisation from God-knows-who were allowed in.

Ms Omollo was remanded nine days ago over the Sh9 billion scandal at the National Youth Service. She was rushed to hospital last Tuesday after allegedly falling ill and fainting in court. Medical staff, speaking on condition of anonymity because of professional discretion, were amused by our enquiries on Ms Omollo’s health because, they said, on the night she was wheeled in, they conducted a battery of tests and found her to be in good health.

“We did several tests on her, including an echocardiogram, and they all turned okay,” said one medical worker. An echocardiogram test is recommended for patients who show symptoms of heart ailments, and the source on Wednesday said Ms Omollo’s heart is “as healthy as that of a baby”.

Another source said that, while Ms Omollo is generally healthy, she has been complaining of a stomach ailment.

As she whiles away the time on her 10th floor corner room, her co-accused are reportedly being held at Industrial Area Remand Prison and Lang’ata Women’s Prison — for men and women, respectively.

She, alongside 42 other suspects, faces multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit economic crimes, failure to comply with the law regarding protection of public funds, and abuse of office

Ms Omollo is generally entitled to bail, and the decision not to allow it but instead hold her in relative comfort deals a serious blow to the seriousness of the government’s promise to finally crack down on the theft of public resources.

It bears an eerie resemblance to the deceptive crackdown on Goldenberg architect Kamlesh Pattni a decade ago. Mr Pattni, with a lot more drama, faked illness — complete with public fainting — and stayed in hospital for extended periods. He was never punished for the loss of billions of shillings 26 years ago.

Credits, Daily Nation

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