, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – The head of the civil service Francis Kimemia on Saturday suspended the entire board of the controversy ridden National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
In a statement, Kimemia said a caretaker management board would be set up next week to probe alleged malpractices concerning the new NHIF medical scheme.
“Following recent events in NHIF and complaints widely reported by both the electronic and print media, the government has instituted the immediate suspension of the entire management board including the Chief Executive Officer,” the statement said.
He said the move by his office was intended to give way for investigations into the saga that has left many Kenyans concerned about the state of the monthly contributions to the scheme.
“This will pave way for the appointment of a Caretaker Management Board and the conducting of investigations into the alleged malpractices in the institution,” he said adding that more measures will be made in the coming week after necessary discussions are held.
The move comes a day after the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) withdrew its representative from the board and demanded that the entire board be disbanded and the gazette notice that effected the new NHIF rates cancelled.
COTU also demanded the sacking of Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o over corruption allegations.
Withdrawing Ben Okwaro from the board, COTU Deputy Secretary General George Muchai accused Nyong’o of abetting corruption through dubious payments of millions of shillings by NHIF to uninspected clinics.
The saga has attracted sharp reactions from Kenyans including the civil society.
National Civil Society Congress President Morris Odhiambo said the NHIF contribution increments should not be implemented.
In an interview with Capital Newsbeat, Odhiambo said NHIF has been turned into a money making vessel instead of giving Kenyans the required medical services.
He said the latest exposure of allocation of money to non existing health centers is an indication of how corruption runs deep in NHIF.
“This kind of foolishness we have seen in the last 4 days is an indication that there is a lot corruption at NHIF. The increments must not be implemented on the basis of what is happening. Everything at NHIF is wrong and it will not work until this corruption is unearthed,” he said.