Eleven NHIF board members are targeted for questioning by the DCI on their role in the Sh2.2 billion scam at the public health insurer.
The Star has established that Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has ordered a probe of the National Hospital Insurance Fund board members who served from 2014, in efforts to unearth the alleged rip-off. The money was allegedly lost in a digital payment contract.
Last week, NHIF CEO Geoffrey Mwangi Mwangi and finance director Wilbert Kurgat were charged with failing to produce crucial payment vouchers used in the contract. They denied wrongdoing. They were released on Sh500,000 bond each. They are suspended.
Mwangi and Kurgat were arrested on November 23 on allegations of obstructing ongoing graft investigations at the insurance company.
NHIF is alleged to have lost Sh93 million in a land-buying scheme. A 23-acre parcel of land that NHIF claims to have bought in 2002 is said to belong to a group from the Maasai community.
DPP Noordin Haji, through state counsel Alexander Muteti, had opposed the two being released on bond and proposed high bond of Sh50 million. The DCI is investigating allegations of misappropriation of funds, irregular award of tenders and the manipulation of system.
The board members have been summoned to appear at the Kiambu Road-based Mazinga House offices today. Chairperson Hannah Mureithi was grilled on Friday at the DCI headquarters for hours before she was let free.
Sources at the DCI told the Star that Mureithi was allowed to leave because she said the contracts were executed long before she took office. She was appointed as in April.
The investigators seek to get to the bottom of the contract amid revelations that the board sanctioned its execution. Some 10 members have been adversely linked to the authorisation of many other fraudulent projects, as investigations into the NHIF gather momentum.
“We want them to tell us how those decisions were carried out. We know the board sanctioned the same,” a detective told the Star. “We’ll question all board members who have been there since 2014 to 2018.”
Kinoti could not be reached for comment. He did not return calls.
The NHIF has 11 board members drawn from different groups, including the Treasury and health and workers unions. The current members as listed on the NHIF website include Latif Shaban (representative of faith-based healthcare), Gilda Odero (Federation of Kenya Employers), Joseph Mwaura (alternate member to the Treasury PS), Health PS Peter Tum, and Peter Cherutich (alternate member to the Director of Medical Services).
Others are Yusuf Ibrahim (representative of the Public Service PS), Dr Elly Nyaim (Kenya Medical Association), Mudzo Nzili (Knut representative) and Akello Misori (Kuppet). Suspended CEO Mwangi also sits at the board as the secretary.