, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – The government has ordered the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) not to pay Sh7.2 billion consultancy fees billed for the proposed construction of a hospital in Karen.
In a statement sent to newsrooms on Wednesday, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the government had decided not to pay the ludicrous amount because it amounted to misuse of hard earned public funds.
Macharia explained that the government had reached its decision after investigating the fees being demanded for the consultancy services.
“The Ministry of Health’s position on the NHIF Karen Hospital project is that we shouldn’t pay, can’t pay and therefore won’t pay the claims for the purported consultancy services which alarmingly now stands at Sh7.2 billion,” he declared.
He at the same time revealed that he had directed the NHIF management and all other parastatals under his ministry, to furnish him with information on projects worth more than Sh10 million.
Among these parastatals are the Kenyatta National Hospital, the Kenya Medical Training College, the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency and the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
“These parastatals must submit detailed information on all projects either ongoing, contracted, committed or planned with a value exceeding Sh10 million together with back up information on how they were committed or funded. This information is currently being processed,” he said.
This is not the first controversy the national health fund has attracted after details of how a parking building project ended up costing Sh4 billion up from Sh900 million, emerged out last month.
Last year, details of how the fund paid ghost clinics millions of shillings also emerged leading to the firing of the entire board.
The fund also found itself on the spot over the increment of NHIF rates, which critics argued didn’t justify the services it rendered.
“I also wish to advise that a process to overhaul the NHIF commenced on May 30, this year with the appointment of a taskforce comprising of officials from the Health Ministry with the technical support of the World Bank and others,” he said.
The United States Agency for International Development and the World Health Organisation are also part of the taskforce, which will review the 1998 NHIF Act to ensure it has the ability to deliver its mandate to Kenyans.