Monday, November 4, 2013

Kerich arrested again over NHIF scam

Kerich arrested again over NHIF scam

Richard Kerich (folded arms) in court over a multi-million shilling scandal at NHIF. Photo/FILE
Richard Kerich (folded arms) in court over a multi-million shilling scandal at NHIF. Photo/FILE
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.

Former NHIF boss Richard Kerich arrested, to appear in court Tuesday

Updated Monday, November 4th 2013 at 23:52 GMT +3
Former NHIF boss Richard Kerich(right) leaving Milimani Law Courts in the past. (Photo:File:Standard)
By Cyrus Ombati
Nairobi, Kenya: Former National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) top managers are expected in court to face fresh corruption related charges involving Sh96 million.
The managers including former Managing Director Richard Kerich, assistant manager benefits and quality David Chingi were arrested Monday evening and locked up in jail. They are expected to take plea over a Sh96 million scandal involving Clinix Healthcare.
Clinix Healthcare Chairman Jayesh Saini and other managers were yet to be arrested but were being sought, officials said.
Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) spokesman Yasin Aila said they will face several charges including conspiracy to defraud, obtaining with false pretence and failure to comply with procurement laws.
“They will appear in court tomorrow (Tuesday) to face various charges. Two of the former NHIF officials are in custody,” said Aila.

Kerich and other four managers had last month been charged in court and released on Sh2Million cash bail each.
Kerich and a manager, Marwa Chacha were charged in the court for allegedly conspiring to defraud NHIF Sh116 million.
They were jointly charged with Chingi.
Two directors of Meridian Medical Centre Limited, Peter Wambugu and Ndiba Wairioko, were too accused of conspiring to defraud NHIF of Sh116,935,500 million by entering into a contract under which the Meridian Medical Centre was to provide services to civil servants and disciplined forces while knowing they had no capacity to provide such services in full.
The decision to arrest the officials followed a green light from the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to charge them over corruption related charges.
President Kibaki had ordered a joint investigation into the NHIF saga that had dragged for long.

Hospital wants charges against former NHIF boss Richard Kerich halted

Updated Tuesday, October 15th 2013 at 19:12 GMT +3

Former NHIF boss Richard Kerich (Right) in court with co-accused Marwa Chacha (centre) and David Chingi. (Photo:Evans Habil/Standard)
By Pamela Chepkemei
Nairobi, Kenya: A case seeking to terminate criminal charges against former National Hospital Insurance Fund boss Richard Kerich and five others was Tuesday instituted in court.
Meridian Medical Centre wants the High court in Nairobi to quash the charges against Kerich and the others.
Before the charges are terminated, the company is asking the court to suspend the trial of the six suspects at the magistrate’s court pending the determination of the Constitutional application.
The six suspects were charged in the magistrate’s court two weeks ago over a controversial healthcare scheme meant for public servants which was suspended last year by the Government.
But Meridian, in the documents lodged in court argues that its two directors charged alongside three NHIF managers did not commit any illegalities as claimed by the prosecution. The company claims that the prosecution of its two directors was based on malice and ulterior motives.

They say that the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)to charge two directors of meridian in Court when there is a commercial dispute at the High Court over payment for services rendered by Meridian is an abuse of the court process. Meridian is demanding Sh118 million from NHIF.
Business affected
Meridian had sued the Government for breach of contract after NHIF failed to pay for services it rendered.
The company says that the criminal case has affected its operations to the extent that an investor who had partnered with the company and had offered to inject Sh133.5 million to the company pulled out after the directors were charged in court.
“The action of the DPP and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will unless stopped promptly destroy the reputation of Meridian Medical Centre and its brand and the livelihood of all its directors , shareholders, employees and dependants,” says a director Dr Peter Wambugu.
The company has also faulted the decision to institute the criminal case against a decision by the Attorney General Githu Muigai to NHIF to pay Meridian the outstanding money. According to Meridian the decision to charge the directors is based on ulterior motives.

“The decision to prefer criminal charges against the applicants for undertaking their constitutional rights of suing NHIF for breach of contract is actuated by ulterior motives and malice,” says Wambugu.
Dr Wambugu, his co-director, Dr Warioko , have been charged jointly with the former NHIF boss Kerich .
The three are on trial jointly with two former NHIF managers, Marwa Chacha, David Chingi and the hospital.

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