Hospital wants charges against former NHIF boss Richard Kerich halted

Former NHIF boss Richard Kerich (Right) in court with co-accused Marwa Chacha (centre) and David Chingi. (Photo:Evans Habil/Standard)

By Pamela Chepkemei

Nairobi, Kenya: A case seeking to terminate criminal charges against former National Hospital Insurance Fund boss Richard Kerich and five others was Tuesday instituted in court.

Meridian Medical Centre wants the High court in Nairobi to quash the charges against Kerich and the others.

Before the charges are terminated, the company is asking the court to suspend the trial of the six suspects at the magistrate’s court pending the determination of the Constitutional application.

The six suspects were charged in the magistrate’s court two weeks ago over a controversial healthcare scheme meant for public servants which was suspended last year by the Government.

But Meridian, in the documents lodged in court argues that its two directors charged alongside three NHIF managers did not commit any illegalities as claimed by the prosecution. The company claims that the prosecution of its two directors was based on malice and ulterior motives.

They say that the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)to charge two directors of meridian in Court when there is a commercial dispute at the High Court over payment for services rendered by Meridian is an abuse of the court process. Meridian is demanding Sh118 million from NHIF.

Business affected

Meridian had sued the Government for breach of contract after NHIF failed to pay for services it rendered.

The company says that the criminal case has affected its operations to the extent that an investor who had partnered with the company and had offered to inject Sh133.5 million to the company pulled out after the directors were charged in court.

“The action of the DPP and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC)  will unless stopped promptly  destroy the reputation of Meridian  Medical Centre  and its brand and the livelihood  of all its directors , shareholders, employees and dependants,” says a  director Dr Peter Wambugu.

The company has also faulted the decision to institute the criminal case against a decision by the Attorney General Githu Muigai to NHIF to pay Meridian the outstanding money. According to Meridian the decision to charge the directors is based on ulterior motives.

“The decision to prefer criminal charges against the applicants for undertaking their constitutional rights of suing NHIF for breach of contract is actuated by ulterior motives and malice,” says Wambugu.

Dr Wambugu, his co-director, Dr Warioko , have been charged jointly with  the former NHIF boss Kerich .

The three are on trial jointly with two former NHIF managers, Marwa Chacha, David Chingi and the hospital.

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