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No cash to buy coolers for the City Mortuary

A project to install ten new coolers at the City Mortuary has been stopped temporarily until City Hall releases funds.

Airtouch Coolers which was awarded the tender directly as the county raced to sort out the crisis at the mortuary last year is awaiting City Hall to release Sh1.7 million for the project.

At one point, only two coolers were working which saw the county government contract a firm called Jeffrey International to install 10 new ones as an emergency.

The firm supplied the coolers, but Dr Robert Ayisi, the county chief Medical officer of health, said they didn’t work and so  the contract was awarded to Airtouch.

“The installation started but when we went to supervise the engineer, we found that the coolers were not working.

We gave them (Jeffrey International) a two-week ultimatum to ensure that they were okay or else, we would cancel the contract,” he told the County Assembly’s public accounts committee.

He added that the new contractor has installed six new coolers, four of which are already working combined with four  older ones, bringing the morgue’s capacity to eight.

The installation and operation of the remaining ones will, however, depend on City Hall availing the extra funds to increase the power needed to handle the extra load.

Stand-by

Dr Ayisi said the morgue needed 14 coolers, seven operational and seven on stand-by. The project will also entail refurbishment of the cold-rooms where the bodies are kept to make them airtight.

Coolers are used to pump cold air into the cold-rooms. Each of the coolers cost Sh2.2 million inclusive of installation cost.

County officials denied that the original contractor had been paid or was in the process of receiving payment.

“As far as I’m concerned, that contractor cannot be paid as the tender was cancelled,” said County Secretary Lilian Ndegwa.

Last year, the morgue was reported as having 10 non-working coolers with Governor Evans Kidero promising to provide funds for new ones.

City Mortuary handles a lot of bodies from the city including those brought in by the police.

Its position as the default morgue has at times seen it overloaded for example after the Westgate Mall terror attack.