11 December 2018

Kenya: Two New Members Appointed to NHIF Board

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Nairobi — Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has appointed two National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) board members for a period of three years.

The appointments of Lattif Shaban and Jacqueline Kitulu which were gazetted Monday took effect from November 30.

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The two will join an 11-member board that comprises of among others a chairperson appointed by the President and Principal Secretaries in the Ministries of Health and the National Treasury.

The board also draws its membership from selected trade and workers' unions as well as the Kenya Medical Association.

The appointments came against the backdrop of the arraignment in court of several NHIF top officials over irregular procurement practices.

Former Kenya National Union of Teachers Chairperson Mudzo Nzili, was among 20 persons that denied wrongdoing after the public prosecutor charged them with abuse of office, breach of trust, and wilful failure to comply with procurement regulations.

Sh 1.1 billion is said to have been awarded irregularly to Jambopay, a private entity that provides an Integrated Revenue Collection System to NHIF.

Others charged on Monday were suspended CEO Geoffrey Mwangi and former CEO Simeon Ole Kirgotty, each released on Sh2 million cash bail after denying charges levelled against the by the public prosecutor.

Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti directed Mwangi, Kirgotty, Nzili, and 17 others charged on Monday to appear in court on January 29 for a mention of the case.

Others charged alongside the three were Ruth Sudoi, Pamela Nyaboke, Joseph Mutinda, David Muli, Irene Jepng'etich, Jacinta Nyakio, Gilbert Gathuo, Kennedy Arthur, Fredrick Sagwe, Millicent Wangui, Matilda Mwangemi, Darius Philip, Yussuf Ibrahim, Elly Nyaim, Danson Muchemi, and Robert Muriithi.

The 17 were given bail terms ranging from Sh1 million and 300,000 with a requirement that they deposit their passports at the court registry.

Mwangi and Kirgotty denied violating Sections 45 and 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act by improperly conferring payments amounting to Sh 49.5 million to Webtribe Company Limited (Jambopay) on December 19, 2014.

The DPP had described the actions of the two as tantamount to abuse of office.

Mwangi faced a similar charge in relation to a Sh125.8 million payment made in favour of Webtribe on February 13, 2018.

In a third count, he was charged with six others for wilful failure to comply with procurement laws contrary to Sections 45 (2) (b) and 48 (1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act by irregularly awarding a tender for the procurement of an Integrated Revenue Collection System to Webtribe.

He also denied arbitrarily extending a contract for the provision of an Integrated Revenue Collection System at the cost Sh200.5 million, occasioning the loss of public funds, a charge also faced by Nzili, Ibrahim, and Nyaim.

Mwangi was also charged with wilful failure to comply with the law by approving payments amounting to Sh253.9 million Webtribe on July 1, 2017.

An additional charge emanated from a decision he made on June 4, 2014, single sourcing services for the provision of an Integrated Revenue Collection System, at a cost of Sh495.2 million.

Sudoi, Nyaboke, and Mutinda were listed as co-conspirators in the procurement exercise the public prosecutor said contravened Sections 45 (2) (b) and 48 (1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.

The prosecution also indicted Webtribe, represented in court by Muchemi and Muriithi, for having benefitted from irregular payments totalling Sh1.1 billion between August 15, 2014 and October 31, 2018.

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