NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – Constitutional Affairs acting Permanent Secretary Gichira Kibara has denied claims by Anyang’ Nyong’o that he held a meeting with the acting Head of the Civil Service before the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) board was suspended at the weekend.
In a statement, Kibara dismissed as propaganda reports that there was a meeting between him, Francis Kimemia and other persons before the action on the board members was taken.
“I wish to categorically state that I did not have any meeting with the Ag. Head of Public Service the whole of last week,” the PS said in a statement.
Media reports quoted Nyong’o making the claims, and Kibara has urged him to refrain from dragging his name into politics.
“I urge the minister to refrain from politicising my position in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs,” he said and added that “As a senior member of the government, it is expected that the information he gives to the public is factual, not merely based on misconceived perceptions.”
Kibara said the Justice Ministry has no role to play in the NHIF saga and therefore, should not be dragged into it.
“The Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs has no role in NHIF and I would not, therefore, be consulted on the issue. The Ministry of Medical Services has a competent Permanent Secretary and hence does not need my services,” Kibara said.
Kimemia announced the suspension of NHIF board members and CEO on Saturday to pave way for an investigation on how the funds were paid out but they were reinstated on Sunday by Nyong’o who insisted he was the appointing authority.
But Nyong’o was in turn overruled by Prime Minister Raila Odinga who on Monday ordered the board and CEO to proceed on suspension for three months to facilitate investigations.
The NHIF is embroiled in a Sh4 billion scandal involving dubious payments to poorly equipped clinics and other shoddy ones in the recently unveiled medical scheme for civil servants and security agencies.
Questions have been raised on how NHIF paid millions of shilling to several clinics, some of which do not even exist.
Some of the clinics paid had not even been incorporated by the time they were paid, raising fears ghost clinics may have benefited from the payments.
Last week, the board chairman Richard Muga held a meeting with the board members and announced the suspension of Chief Executive Officer Richard Kerich and five other officials but the board members rejected the proposal and insisted the resolution had not been ratified.
Nyong’o then issued a suspension letter to Muga hours later. His Permanent secretary Mary Ngare announced at the time that Kerich and the five other officials had been reinstated.
It was until Saturday when Kimemia intervened and announced he had suspended all the board members, including Kerich who sits in as its secretary until an investigation is completed.
Kimemia had said a caretaker committee would take up the board’s role until outstanding issues are resolved.