Multi-million secret Sputnik deal threatens to rope DP Ruto in yet another mega scandal

With about only a year to the elections, and at a period when all presidential aspirants are keen to keep their names out of any unsavory stories, the DP might find himself in one.

A news report by Russian newspaper Moscow Times named Aurugulf Health Investments — a firm registered in the UAE and linked to the Emirati royalty — as an official reseller of Russia’s flagship coronavirus vaccine named Sputnik V doses in Kenya.

The UAE firm reportedly secured a lucrative contract with Kenya-based private healthcare company Dinlas Pharma to ship at least one million jabs to Kenya.

The deal eventually collapsed after the Kenyan government learned the first shipment of 75,000 doses, which arrived on March 22, had not come directly from the Russian government and subsequently blocked them from use at a time Covid-19 cases were surging, the paper reported.
The Kenya agreement is outlined in a letter from the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) — the Kremlin-run sovereign fund, which is leading the development and export of Sputnik V — to Kenyan Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe, obtained by The Moscow Times.

The letter states that three batches of Sputnik V — two containing its first dose and the third consisting of the vaccine’s second dose — had been delivered to Kenya on March 22 with RDIF’s knowledge and approval.

Kenya was the sixth country for which The Moscow Times said it found evidence that Russia awarded Aurugulf or the Emirati royal Maktoum Sputnik V resale rights.
It is the third country where the deal has been brokered with private healthcare companies, bypassing the government’s vaccine rollouts.

Kenya’s Dinlas Pharma reportedly paid significantly more than Russia’s advertised price for Sputnik V to obtain the jabs via Aurugulf, the UAE registered firm.

According to a pricing schedule obtained by The Moscow Times, Dinlas paid $18.50 (Sh1,998) per dose of the vaccines — almost twice Russia’s factory price of $9.95 (Sh1,074) — and planned to sell them to clients in Kenya for $42 (Sh4,536) each.

It will be remembered that Ruto was among the first and senior most Government officer to take the Russian vaccine publicly. This was a move which was widely criticised among some Government circles, especially since everyone else, including the president, had taken the Covax Astra Zeneka dose. Immediately after, the vaccine was banned. It’s expected that this latest development might resurrect this incident.

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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