Kenya: NHIF Scandal - Court Bars Web Tribe Directors From Their Offices

11 December 2018

Two directors of Web Tribe Limited, a company linked to fraud at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), have been barred from accessing their offices until police find and secure evidence.

Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti issued the order on Tuesday against Mr Danson Muchemi Njunji and Robert Muriithi Muna.

"PUBLIC GOOD"

In issuing the directive, Mr Ogoti said, "I direct State prosecutor Carol Kimiri to extract this order and serve the same on Muchemi and Muriithi, who are not in court."

"It is for public good," he said, following a plea by the director of public prosecutions, who noted the need to preserve evidence.

While urging the court to issue orders for the preservation the offices, computers and all documents, Ms Kimiri noted that Web Tribe was hired to collect revenue through the Integrated Revenue Collection System (IRCS) on behalf of the NHIF.

The company's servers are located at View Park Towers in Nairobi.

Ms Karimi further noted that all claims to the NHIF are channelled through the company's website, therefore all payments to health institutions which rendered services are submitted to the organisation.

"Unless the accused are barred from accessing the offices, evidence will definitely be interfered with," she told the court.

TWO CHARGED

The prosecutor made the application when two former employees of the fund, Mr David Muli Nzuki and Ms Millicent Wangui Mwangi, were charged.

The two were taken to court on a warrant of arrest.

Ms Mwangi was a member of the NHIF tender committee while Mr Nzuki was an internal auditor.

Mr Nzuki denied two counts of failing to stop irregular payments of Sh228,812,015 to Web Tribe.

Ms Mwangi was charged with failing to review, verify and ascertain that Web Tribe's procurement services were lawful. She also denied the charge.

RELEASE TERMS

Lawyer Joel Mbaluka, for Mr Nzuki and Ms Mwangi, successfully applied for their release on a cash bail of Sh2 million.

The two are among the 21 suspects charged alongside former NHIF CEOs Geoffrey Gitau Mwangi and Simon Kirgotty, who denied a total of 17 charges concerning the alleged loss of more than Sh500 million at the fund.

Mr Kirgotty denied seven charges including abuse of office, wilful failure to comply with laws on management of public funds and wilful failure to comply with procurement procedures.

The court heard that he conferred a benefit by authorising payment of over Sh545 million to Web Tribe.

OTHERS CHARGED

Mr Mwangi allegedly extended the contract and authorised payment, which might have led to loss of funds at the NHIF.

Mr Mwangi, Kirgotty, Ruth Makallah and Pamela Nyaboke Marendi denied a charge of engaging in a project without prior planning.

They allegedly committed the offence between February 7, 2014 and August 15, 2014, when they engaged Web Tribe in the collection of revenue at a cost of Sh49.5 million, without prior planning.

Ms Irene Rono, Jacinta Mwangi, Gilbert Gathuo Kamau, Kennedy Wakhu and Fredrick Sagwe Onyancha - members of the tender evaluation committee - were accused of failing to adhere to procedures.

Audit committee members Mudzo Nzili, Yussuf Ibrahim and Elly Nyaim denied a charge of breach of trust for allegedly approving the extension of the contract at a cost of Sh200 million.

The court allowed JamboPay to continue collecting revenue after the court heard that locking the company out would collapse the NHIF system.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Nation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.