NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday overruled Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o and suspended the entire board of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) plus its Chief Executive Officer Richard Kerich.,
Odinga announced that a deputy secretary at the Ministry of Medical Services Adan A. Adan had been appointed temporary manager at the Fund, alongside a caretaker board.
The decision was made after the PM held consultations with Nyong’o and the Head of the Civil Service Francis Kimemia.
The PM said that the board will stay suspended for three months awaiting investigations into the dubious payments at the health insurer.
The Efficiency Monitoring Unit will spearhead investigations into the fund that has been accused of paying money to non-existent clinics.
An independent and reputable audit firm will be appointed by the caretaker board to conduct investigations in regard to award of contracts, investments and management systems in the Corporation.
The caretaker board will include among others, various Permanent Secretaries and representatives from the Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE), the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU), the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Medical Association.
Others in the board will be representatives from the Office of the President, the Office of the Prime Minister and Permanent Secretaries from the Ministries of State for Public Service, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour.
“We recommend that an independent firm undertake a forensic audit of the affairs of the NHIF as we also engage the Efficiency and Monitory Unit which falls under my office to corroborate the findings,” the PM said.
The caretaker board which will be chaired by Mutuma Mugambi will be charged with examining the current system of rollout for the civil service as well as teachers’ medical insurance schemes and recommend ways to improve them.
Further, the board will establish whether NHIF has the capacity to manage the medical insurance scheme as currently constituted and recommend changes to enable it perform to the satisfaction of the members.
It will also examine all contracts related to the medical insurance scheme and recommend appropriate changes to streamline it to the needs of the end users.
Other duties expected to be fulfilled in its three-month tenure include the study and evaluation of the medical scheme in relation to other such schemes and recommend changes to improve its efficiency, examination of the competencies and the existing skills in NHIF and the corporation’s ability to undertake and manage the Fund and recommend the appropriate changes.
Additionally, the board will be required to review existing policy on Fund investments and recommend necessary changes, recommend a new system for the roll out of the healthcare scheme that will be suitable and acceptable to all stakeholders and to develop a system for the management of the Fund.
The NHIF spectacle comes full circle after Nyong’o reinstated the Board and CEO on Sunday just a day after Kimemia sent them packing.
Earlier on Monday morning, Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale threatened to institute a vote of no-confidence against Nyong’o over the scandal.
On Sunday, Nyong’o overruled the acting Head of Public Service over his decision on Saturday to suspend the entire board at NHIF saying that Kimemia had no such powers and could not micro-manage the ministry of Medical Services.