By Ally Jamah
Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o has appointed a new acting Chief Executive Officer to head the multi-billion shilling National Hospital Insurance Fund, which is fighting to pull itself out of a sea of scandals.
The change of guard at the troubled NHIF happened on the same day The Standard unearthed yet another scandal, this time involving the outgoing acting CEO Adan A Adan, who allegedly sanctioned the hiring of his wife and relatives.
In a letter dated August 7, Nyong’o appointed Simeon ole Kirgotty, who is the Director of Administration at the Ministry of Medical Services, to take over from Adan,who has been heading the caretaker committee appointed in July, to sort out the mess regarding the Sh4.6 billion outpatient medical schemes for civil servants.
The move comes as the High Court is still considering an appeal by the Attorney General against a July 19 court decision suspending the caretaker committee on grounds that it was illegality constituted by President Kibaki. The case came up for mention on Thursday.
Nyong’o also indicated in his appointment letter that he would soon be announcing a new board to run the organisation to replace the caretaker committee and the former board, which was also suspended last month.
“I have appointed you to hold brief at the NHIF while I make arrangements to appoint the new board with which you will work to superintend reforms at the Fund. Please ensure that the Fund runs effectively, efficiently, and productively,” said Nyong’o in the letter to Ole Kirgotty.
Award of contracts
The minister made the changes despite reports that the Cabinet, which did not meet on Thursday, was to have extended the term of the NHIF caretaker committee Adan headed.
Former CEO Richard Kerich and the entire board were replaced after the intervention of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. It followed allegations of impropriety in the award of contracts to health care providers for civil servants.
Kerich on Thursday spent hours at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission “clarifying issues” on the ongoing investigations at the Fund.
Officials at the commission said it was not the first time Kerich was visiting the offices, although he has not recorded a statement over the probe.
“Yes, he has been coming to clarify matters regarding ongoing investigations at NHIF. He is not recording statements,” said EACC spokesman Nicholas Simani.