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Court asked to cancel Sh8.7b medical cover for police and prisons

 According to the petitioners, the consortium has reduced the reimbursement from the previously issued Sh1,500 per person per visit to between Sh650 and Sh1,300. [iStockphoto]

A battle over the multi-billion shilling insurance deal for police and prison officers has landed in court.

Two petitioners are challenging the award of Sh8 billion medical cover contract to a consortium of CIC General Insurance, Britam and Old Mutual.

Chrispine Onyango and Henry Shitanda, in their case filed before High Court judge Hedwig Ong'undi, argue that the National Service Police Commission and Kenya Prisons Services breached the law by abandoning the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) for the private entities.

Their lawyer Moses Angaya says only NHIF has the authority to insure government agencies and their employees.

According to the petitioners, the consortium has reduced the reimbursement from the previously issued Sh1,500 per person per visit to between Sh650 and Sh1,300. They claim this has locked out most junior police officers of adequate health care, and made it more expensive.

"The respondents whose employees are public servants and thus mandatory and statutory contributors to the NHIF have abdicated a well-known medical cover and gone against the law to advertise and issue the tender to private firms," argues Anganya.

"Even where members of the first and second respondents (KPS and NPSC) elected to obtain enhanced or comprehensive medical cover, the same can only be offered under NHIF since only NHIF has the direct mandate to offer medical insurance of any kind to government agencies."

The lawyer is of the view that the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority does not provide for firms to participate as a consortium in the procurement of any services.

On December 9, last year, NPSC and KPS invited bidders to participate as a consortium.

Following technical and financial evaluation, the CIC, Britam and Old Mutual consortium won the Sh8.7 billion deal.

NHIF was locked out after it quoted Sh9.4 billion.

However, the two claim that the tender was against the government's Vision 2030 goals and universal health coverage bid.

In the court papers filed yesterday, they say the tender was rushed, and was deliberately crafted "to enable the sharing of the Sh8.7 billion public money among the awarded bidders in collusion with a few individuals in the National Police Service."

The two accuse the government of frustrating NHIF.

They now want the court to to order the deal cancelled and the tender awarded to NHIF.

At the same time, they are seeking an order to ring-fence NHIF for all health insurance coverage for public servants.

" Your petitioners therefore humbly pray for a declaration that the 1st and 2nd respondents, being public bodies, can only procure comprehensive health insurance from another from the National Health Insurance Fund and that, the service shall not be subject to any competitive procurement and should not, therefore, be subjected to the rigors of the procurement processes."

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