Ex-NHIF boss acquitted in Sh1.1b corruption case

Former NHIF boss Geoffrey Mwangi at a Milimani court on January 23, 2023. [File, Standard]

Former National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) boss Geoffrey Mwangi is now a free man after the court agreed to the State's application to drop Sh1.1 billion graft charges he was facing.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had applied to drops the charges on the grounds that he had no evidence against him. 

It is the second time that the DPP is dropping charges in this case. The first was the dropping of charges against Webtribe Company and its director Danson Muchemi who had been charged together with Mwangi. 

Following Webtribe’s withdrawal, Mwangi filed a case before the Anti-Corruption court. His main contention was that since the case against the technology firm had collapsed, then the accusations against him could not hold anymore.

Mwangi’s charges were hinged on the state’s claim against Webtribe. 

Justice Esther Maina, however, disagreed with him. But on Monday, Milimani senior principal magistrate Victor Wakumile set Mwangi free.

According to Wakulime, the DPP had given enough reasons to have the former NHIF boss case discharged. The magistrate while delivering the ruling where the other suspects too were in court gave the prosecution side 15 days to review the entire file and inform the court of the way forward.

Mwangi alongside 20 other individuals were in 2018 arrested and charged with corruption.  Among those charged with him was former CEO Simon Kirgotty, NHIF audit committee members Mudzo Nzili, Yussuf Ibrahim, Elly Nyaim, Danson Muchemi and his company Webtribe.

On June 8, 2021, the DPP withdrew charges against Muchemi, Webtribe and Robert Muriithi. Muchemi was turned into a state witness.

His reason for turning Muchemi as the witness as the DPP told the court was because he found no wrongdoing on the part of his Webtribe after he reviewed his evidence.

Addressing the press outside the court, one of the defence lawyers Steve Ogolla said that the acquittal of Mwangi was politically-instigated because even last year three other suspects were acquitted after the DPP convinced the court that there was no strong evidence to link them with corruption.

He added that the acquittal of suspects linked to the case followed due process of law.

"Last year Mwangi had made an attempt to have his corruption case terminated following the withdrawal of the charges against Webtribe," said Ogolla. Mwangi was appointed as NHIF's Acting Chief Executive in 2016. The mention of the case in its review will be on February 10.