NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 4 – Former National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) boss Richard Kerich is expected in court on Tuesday morning over a scandal involving Clinix Healthcare, in which hundreds of millions were lost.
Kerich was arrested on Monday by detectives from the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) who arraigned him in court last month over a related scandal.
Officials at the EACC offices have told Capital News that Kerich who has been out on bond is expected in court on Tuesday morning to face fraud-related charges.
In the initial court appearance, Kerich and three other former NHIF officials were charged over a Sh116 million scandal which led to their suspension.
Kerich was charged alongside Peter Wambugu and Ndiba Wairioko (both Directors at the Meridian Medical Centre) as well as David Chingi – NHIF’s Manager of Strategy and Cooperate Planning.
The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) accused the former NHIF officials of having conspired knowingly to defraud the Fund.
“Wambugu and Wairioko entered into a contract under which Meridian was to provide services under the Civil Services and Disciplined Forces Medical Scheme knowing very well that they had no capacity to provide such services in full,” the EACC said.
Chingi was also accused of using his office to improperly award a contract worth Sh116,935,500 million to Meridian Medical Centre while another official Chacha Marwa was accused of failing to comply with the law relating to public procurement by not using an open tendering method.
Kerich was at the helm of the NHIF when details of how the Fund had paid ghost clinics millions of shillings emerged.
The then Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o fired Kerich and the entire NHIF Board.
Adan A. Adan was then named the CEO but in an acting capacity before Simeon ole Kirgotty was formally appointed to head the scheme.
“The commission has carefully conducted thorough investigations into several clinics and patients that were purported to have benefited from the funds and found the suspects culpable,” said the EACC.
This development comes at a time when the government has ordered the NHIF not to pay for consultancy services pegged at Sh7.2 billion and allegedly used in the proposed construction of a hospital in Karen.
On August 28, this year, 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.
“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 in a statement at the time.
Plans to overhaul the NHIF are also underway with the assistance of the World Bank.
“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,” said Macharia.