Court drops graft charges against former NHIF CEO


Former National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) CEO Geoffrey Gitau Mwangi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

A Nairobi court has allowed an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to withdraw graft charges against former National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) chief executive officer Geoffrey Mwangi.

Senior principal magistrate Victor Wakumile ruled that the DPP had given sufficient reasons for dropping the charges against Mr Mwangi.

The former chief executive had been charged with conferring a benefit by authorising payment of over Sh253 million to Web Tribe ltd, a company contracted to collect payments on behalf of NHIF. 

Mr Mwangi is alleged to have extended the contract and authorising payment, which might have led to the loss of funds at NHIF.

"It is my finding that sufficient grounds have been given to the court and I allow the application for the second accused person to be discharged,” the magistrate said.

The decision comes more than six months after the DPP terminated charges against Web Tribe, which had been contracted to install an integrated revenue collection system for NHIF.

The DPP said he reviewed the case and upon consideration, of the evidence, there was no criminal culpability on the company’s part. 

The court gave the DPP 15 days to review the entire file and agree on the fate of the 17 other accused persons who were charged with Mr Mwangi.

They include former NHIF CEO Simeon Kirgotty and NHIF audit committee members Mudzo Nzili, Yussuf Ibrahim and Elly Nyaim, and 14 others.

Mr Mwangi lost an application to terminate charges against him in July last year when the High Court dismissed his case.

The former CEO had argued that it was unfair and discriminatory to sustain the charges against him yet the DPP had withdrawn the case against JamboPay, a company he was accused of conferring a benefit.

Justice Esther Maina then dismissed the case saying the DPP has demonstrated that his decision to charge Mr Mwangi is based on sufficient evidence, noting that the decision was not instigated by any other motive other than the public's interest, to punish corruption.

“The trial court is best suited to determine the issues of fact raised by counsel for the petitioner of course after hearing the evidence of the witnesses. The constitution and criminal procedure code have provisions which jealously guard the right of an accused person to a fair trial and the petitioner need not fear,” the judge said.

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