Uganda fake cattle vaccine probe spreads to Kenya

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A herd of Ugandan long horned Ankole cattle.

By Ali Wasswa and Andrew Kaggwa, NECJOGHA

Kampala, Uganda – The probe into a company in Uganda which is said to have supplied government with fake cattle vaccines worth UShs 6 billion (about US$ 1.6m) is to spread to Kenya after the Ugandan company claims it procured the vaccines from a Kenyan company.

Last week the Uganda government newspaper the New Vision lead with a story of how a company called MTK Uganda Ltd which deals in human, crop and animal drugs received UShs 6b to supply 500, 000 doses of foot and mouth disease vaccines for the supply to cattle farmers for a three months period.

The newspaper alleged that President Yoweri Museveni had ordered Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema who heads the State House anti corruption unit to do the probe after a tip off from a whistle blower saying that MTK which had been contacted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to supply vaccines especially for pastoralists in the cattle corridor had allegedly supplied fake vaccines.

The Kenyan connection comes in where it’s alleged by the newspaper story that after being given the contract by MAAIF, MTK submitted a manufacturer’s authorization from Kenya’s M/s KEVEVAPI who are the original manufacturer’s of the foot and mouth disease vaccine. KEVEVAPI is an acronym for the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute.

However it is alleged that when Uganda government sources contacted KEVEVAPI they denied supplying the fake vaccine saying they have not dealt with MTK since December 2017.

Jane Wachira, the Chief Executive Officer of KEVEVAPI allegedly told Ugandan investigators that the vaccines’ packaging was also suspect.

“We have scrutinized the packaging material and our findings are they are different from ours,” Wachira is quoted to have told investigators.

 However, MTK Uganda Ltd last week ran a press release in the Uganda newspapers denying they had received any money from government to buy vaccines and insisted they last dealt with KAVEVAPI on July 9, 2019 contradicting what KEVEVAPI had said that it had last dealt with MTK in 2017.

The MTK press release that appeared in the Uganda press.

Now NECJOGHA has learnt that the Nakalema-led State House anti-corruption unit has already secured authorization from the Interpol Bureau of Kenya to extend their investigations to Kenya regarding the U Shs6bn.

Meanwhile, last week President Museveni during a tour of Mbarara which is part of Uganda’s cattle corridor told residents there that government was going to take over the procurement of animal drugs because those contracted to do so were supplying fake drugs.

Before this vaccine scandal, for the last six years, the country has been facing the challenge of ticks not responding to drugs aimed at killing them with allegations that it may be due fake drugs which have led to the resistance.

Uganda’s National Drug Authority (NDA) in a collaborative study with Makerere University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biosecurity found out that ticks have developed super resistance to almost all the available 21 acaricides (amidines, pyrethroids, organosphates and their combinations) on most farms in Western and Central Uganda cattle corridor districts while the same drugs are still killing ticks in the Northern and Eastern Districts.

The study further says that Uganda is currently facing the worst episode acaricides resistance in its history leading to death of animals and therefore, threatening the future of livestock industry in the affected districts. 

(Ali Wasswa is a reporter for Bukedde, Bukedde FM and Bukedde TV based in Mbarara, western Uganda)

 

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