Kenya has filed a suit against The United States Agency for International Development after the organization delayed the donation of much needed ARVs to Kenya.
In the suit filed in a US Court, Kenya claims that the lives of many Kenyans were at stake after USAID failed to pay taxes on donated ARVs, delaying the distribution of the drugs and putting many Kenyans at risk.
“It is reckless for a donor to bring their drugs when they are not prepared to pay taxes. This is a sign that they do not respect the poor government which they are donating drugs to, and they must pay for this.” Said an agitated Attorney General Kihara Kariuki.
“USAID must pay the necessary taxes, and compensate Kenyans for the pain they have suffered while waiting for the drugs. We cannot ban them because we need the drugs, but we must bring them to justice. The lives of Kenyans cannot be sacrificed at the hands of stingy donors.”
The Ministry of Health also added to the suit, saying that the recklessness of USAID has forced the Ministry to release expired and discontinued ARVs. “They should take responsibility for this because we depend on their donations. If they were not there, we would have found other donors by now.”
A representative of the treasury said that the Kshs 90m tax row with USAID had escalated into ugly confrontation as the donor was keen on denying the government the much-needed revenue.
“USAID has cost us money – money which was in our budget. Now we have no option but to sue them. We are after dignity and dignity we shall have.”
Legal experts warn that the cost of the suit would exceed the KShs 90 million which is the amount in question, and the Government of Kenya might be forced to meet the cost of the suit. It also risks soiling the relationship with USAID, the agency which donates 90% of all ARVs that are used in Kenya.
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