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NHIF Reforms: Why all past looters like Hannah Muriithi must be charged

Queen of thieves: former NHIF Board Chairperson Hannah Muriithi

The National Hospital Insurance Fund NHIF) is still grappling with raising enough funds for Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

However, we cannot move on with the same experiment expecting different results.

President William Ruto is not a fool and must reign in past looters of the important fund.

Former NHIF CEO Geoffrey Mwang is currently facing corruption charges for misappropriating Sh1.1 billion.

Others still facing charges are former NHIF CEO Simeon Kirgotty and NHIF audit committee members Mudzo Nzili, Yussuf Ibrahim and Elly Nyaim, and 14 others over the alleged loss of Sh500 million at NHIF.

Former CEO Mwangi had tapped Jambopay to install an internally managed system which would have cost between Sh400 million and Sh600 million, the contract it signed was for offering a payment solution to NHIF at a fee of between four and 4.5 per cent of collections.

Between 2014 and August this year, when NHIF eventually bought its own stand-alone system to which JamboPay would offer only technical support, up to Sh1 billion had been lost in commission payments.

‘Catch all thieves’

Though it didn’t make headlines as it should, the corrupt NHIF board chair was sacked by Uhuru Kenyatta for stifling UHC.

Hannah Muriithi acted as a CEO while at NHIF, and it is under her tenure as chairperson of the board that the insurance fund lost more money yet.

When she joined, she immediately stole Sh500 million through the irregular award of contracts for legal services to a firm associated with her.

She sidestepped the internal NHIF legal team which would have saved the cash-hungry parastatal that much money.

In that deal, she is said to have been paid a kickback totalling Sh40 million.

Other officers that served under her are alleged to have received houses as gifts.

READ: Unearthed: Sh6.3 billion Scandal at NHIF

Under Ms Muriithi, clearance for treatment abroad by people close to her was easy. It was mad a joke that someone would even travel for eye check abroad.

Eye check is something that can be handled in Kenya due to the many established eye health businesses such as Optica, Baus etc.

The level of corruption was meant to fleece NHIF at every turn because in approving the travel and compensation for the hospitals, there’s the mighty kickback that greased the hands of managers under Hannah Muriithi.

READ: NHIF CEO Peter Kamunyo’s scandal

Hannah Muriithi didn’t even follow the MWONGOZO ACT that restricted how many meetings a board of a GoK agency can have. She always called for meetings where board members pocketed huge sums in sitting allowance.

The rot was too deep and we can’t move on if looters are not held to account.

Hannah Muriithi’s corrupt practices were well captured in several articles by this site.

READ MORE: Audit: Parliament questions Sh336 million paid to Law firms MMC Africa

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