State orders lifestyle audit for NHIF staff in graft crackdown

susan nakhumicha, health cs

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

The State will conduct a lifestyle audit on all the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) staff this month in a crackdown on fraud that has cost the public insurer billions of shillings.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha said the exercise would start in the next few days, targeting all 1,835 employees attached to the fund.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is expected to assist with verifying the wealth held by each of the employees, in an exercise which will exclude contractors doing business with the NHIF for now.

The exercise is expected to send shock waves among staffers at the fund currently rocked by numerous corruption scandals.

“We are going to commence an elaborate lifestyle audit on all staff of NHIF. This is to ensure that each member of staff can explain their wealth portfolio inconsistent with their earnings,” said Ms Nakhumicha Monday.

“This will commence this month in conjunction with the EACC but will continue progressively and will continue to the end of the year.”

The upcoming lifestyle audit is geared towards ascertaining that workers’ salaries match their life.

It is coming at a time the Cabinet secretary has also suspended eight branch managers of the fund following accusations of deploying orthodox tactics to exploit Kenyans.

Further, she directed the NHIF board to take action against staff suspected of colluding with the cartels to fleece unsuspecting victims.

Ms Nakhumicha invited the whistleblower of the exposé by NTV to assist the EACC detectives carry out their investigations.

Some of the hospitals named in the scheme include Afya Bora Hospital, Amal Hospital Limited, Beirut Pharmacy and Medical Centre, Jekim Medical Centre, Joy Nursing and Maternity Eastleigh, St Peter’s Orthopedics and Surgical Speciality.

“I wish to express my disappointment at the staff at my ministry who took part in this callous syndicate. I met with the NHIF board chair and instructed him to commence investigations, including inviting the whistleblower to share details regarding this heartless and ruthless cartel,” she said.

The NHIF has been struggling to remain afloat due to the huge amount of money owed to it by the Treasury.

Early this month, all rural private hospitals were forced to stage a go-slow to demand the release of their funds to the facilities for the April and June 2023 quarters before they can continue rendering their services.

The hospitals were forced to take cash from patients after several attempts to engage the NHIF board bore no fruit.

The money owed was later released by the National Treasury coming as a major relief to sick patients, the majority of whom do not have private insurance covers.

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