“The way forward is that we must follow the NHIF Act and of course as the minister I must help guide the way forward. I don’t think there is a problem,” he said, declining to give details
“The caretaker board is under me. We shall discuss the matter and resolve any concerns they may have over the appointment,” he added. But Public Service PS Titus Ndambuki, who is a member of the caretaker committee, said he was not aware of the changes. “We are not aware that acting CEO has been recalled. But we will follow the matter with relevant offices,” said Ndambuki.
On July 10, Nyong’o wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko, saying Kerich should return to work because Parliament dismissed a report on which his suspension, and that of the entire board, was based on.
“I write to seek legal advice on the matter. Following the submission to Parliament of a report compiled by the Parliamentary Committee on Health and its subsequent dismissal by the Committee of the Whole House, it is clear there is no case against Government officers mentioned adversely in the report, including the CEO Richard Kerich,” Nyong’o wrote to Keriako.
According to a Parliamentary report dated June 28, the Health Committee recommended that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigate Nyong’o, Kerich, and Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno’s role in the NHIF saga.
On Wednesday, Nyong’o renewed his assertion that there was no financial scandal, dismissing the discrepancies described as sleazy as a result of “teething problems”.
Pace of investigation
Efforts to reach Tobiko failed, as calls and text messages to his phone went unanswered. But EACC spokesman Nicholas Simani confirmed that investigations President Kibaki ordered were ongoing.
“The investigations are not moving with the pace that we would have liked because they are complex. Our investigators keep moving back and forth, collecting information and interviewing those concerned. They need more time to analyse what has been gathered,” said Simani.
On May 19, President Kibaki demanded a speedy probe into the NHIF scam and promised tough action on the culprit. He also warned the alleged scandal was likely to frustrate the Government’s drive to provide affordable and universal health care.
“We must never compromise the health of our citizens because of greed and schemes meant to put money in the pockets of people, who have no capacity to deliver health services,” said Kibaki, when he opened a donor-funded hospital in Isiolo.
The NHIF saga involved some clinics getting paid millions of shillings in advance despite their glaring lack of capacity to provide services. Other service providers were found to have been non-existent.