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Economy

NHIF accused lose bid for hard copy evidence

Former National Hospital Insurance Fund CEO Geoffrey Mwangi
Former National Hospital Insurance Fund CEO Geoffrey Mwangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Suspects linked to the alleged loss of Sh500 million at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will receive soft copies of over 20,000 documents the prosecution is using in their trial, a judge has ruled.

High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi said the documents, mainly bank statements and board minutes, can be supplied to the suspects electronically, overturning a decision of the magistrate's court.

A number of accused persons in the case wanted the prosecution to supply them with the statements in hard copy, stating that electronic evidence was prone to manipulation.

Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti had agreed with them forcing the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal the decision, arguing that the documents were bulky.

Justice Ngugi, however, said that three board minutes, which the prosecution would use during the trial, should be supplied to the accused persons in hard copies.

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She directed the DPP to prepare an inventory of the bank statements and supply it to the defence team.

The investigating officer had told the trial court that all the documents to be used were 20,520.

In the case, suspended NHIF chief executive Geoffrey Mwangi and his predecessor, Simeon Kirgotty, have denied 17 counts related to the alleged loss of over Sh500 million at the fund.

Mr Kirgotty is charged with seven counts, including abuse of office, wilful failure to comply with the law relating to the management of public funds, and failure to comply with procurement procedures.

The court heard that he authorised payment of over Sh545 million to Webtribe — which in 2014 had been offered a contract to collect members’ contributions.

The NHIF bought the Webtribe system for ShSh495 million last year.

Mr Mwangi is alleged to have extended Webtribe’s contract and authorised payment for the purchase of the system, which led to loss of funds at NHIF.

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