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Trial of ex-NHIF boss kicks off six years later

By | August 21st 2009

By Wahome Thuku

The trial of a former State corporation chief over alleged corruption has begun more than six years after he was arraigned in court.

Former National Hospital Insurance Fund chief executive Ibrahim Hussein was charged in April 2003 with abusing his office by depositing more than Sh479 million into the collapsed Euro Bank.

Hussein faces eight counts of arbitrarily authorising a Sh479,499,754 deposit into the bank.

He is alleged to have authorised the deposit in breach of the State Corporations Act on eight days between July 2001 and September 2002, thereby prejudicing the NHIF.

The trial began years after other parastatal bosses charged at the same time, with similar offences, were acquitted by magistrate courts in Nairobi. The cases were the first to be instituted when the Narc Government came to power in 2002. They were then viewed as ambitious move to fight corruption.

Euro Bank collapsed in February 2003, owing several parastatals more than Sh1.8 billion in deposits.

Dragged to court

Seven former State Corporation CEOs were also dragged to court facing abuse of office and fraud charges. Some were acquitted for lack of evidence while others managed to stop their trial at the High Court.

Mr Hussein filed a suit at the High Court challenging his trial but lost the case.

The first two witnesses to testify before Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Nyambura was NHIF Company Secretary Lucy Rono and Finance and Investments manager Lawrence Ondari. The witnesses took the court through more than 15 letters of correspondence between NHIF and Euro bank, sanctioning and acknowledging the deposits. The hearing continues.

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