Judge quashes hiring of NHIF interim board
Posted Thursday, July 19 2012 at 20:09
A judge on Thursday disbanded an interim committee appointed to oversee the operations of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Mr Justice Weldon Korir issued the temporary orders sought by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), hardly a day after the Medical Services minister had ordered the reinstatement of suspended chief executive Richard Kerich.
The minister had requested the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keriako Tobiko, to reinstate Mr Kerich but the DPP declined, saying investigations on alleged impropriety at the health insurance fund were yet to be completed.
But KAM successfully persuaded Mr Justice Korir to block the interim board appointed by President Kibaki in consultation with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, pending investigations into alleged corruption.
The judge agreed with KAM’s submissions that the two acted unlawfully and in contravention of proceedure when they picked the interim board.
While the association acknowledged in suit papers that the principals had power to constitute a board, it insisted that this should have been conducted in accordance with all relevant laws.
On May 7, the PM issued a statement suspending the NHIF board and also appointed a caretaker committee.
But the association accused the President and PM of failing to consider section 4 of the NHIF Act which requires the appointment of a permanent secretary to the Treasury as a board member.
The Act, the association said, also required the appointment of a nominee from the Kenya National Farmers Union and the medical association to the board while two slots are reserved for the minister.
In his ruling, the judge said the board was constituted without complying with the provisions of the law and concluded that it be sent packing pending the determination of the dispute. The case is scheduled for hearing on July 27.
On June 5, the parliamentary committee on health recommended further investigations into the alleged roles played by Medical Services minister Anyang Nyong’o, Public Service minister Dalmas Otieno and top government officials over irregularities in the payment of public funds to non-existent clinics.
The committee investigated payments to Clinix Healthcare and Meridian Health Group, which were alleged to have received Sh202m and Sh116 million respectively during the roll-out of the Sh4 billion scheme, meant for 221,730 public servants.