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NHIF managers summoned by parliament over misappropriation of funds

The management of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has been summoned to parliament to answer questions on an audit and also regarding misappropriation of funds.

The management is set to appear before the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC), which will be chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir on Thursday this week.

Speaking to a local daily, the chair said the management would appear before the committee for a routine audit. Still, they will also answer questions regarding the scandals that have been making headlines recently.

“It is our duty as PIC to check whether the organization is managed well and also public funds are managed well,” he said.

Hon. Nassir added that the committee would also want to know if the insurer is cutting operations costs and if that means it will be sending some of its staff packing.

The audit questions NHIF is set to answer were raised in the auditor general’s report for fiscal year 2017/2018.

The management will also give accounts on how the Fund contracted IT solutions firm Web Tribe Limited for Sh495 million in 2018 to provide an Integrated Management System.

According to the audit report of that financial year, although NHIF had not obtained the system as at June 30, 2018, the total amount of the system was incorporated under additions to computers and related equipment; therefore, it resulted in an overstatement of the equipment by Sh495 million.

Former Auditor-General Edward Ouko, in his report, also questioned why the Fund went for direct procurement of Web Tribe.

The report shows that no evidence was presented to the effect that the underlying circumstances met conditions required for direct procurement, as laid in Section 91.

The report, therefore, concluded that the management breached the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act, 2015.

NHIF as been trending for allegations of misappropriation of funds amounting to billions of shillings.

One of the accusations to the insurer is that it used Sh6billion to print Afya Centre care Cards for counties. NHIF has denied the allegations.

These scandals led to the vetting of Health CS nominee Mutahi Kagwe last week, with the MPs and Mr. Kagwe calling for urgent restructuring of the Fund.

The nominee told the committee that there should be a comprehensive restructuring of NHIF for better services to Kenyans.

“Mr. Speaker, this should not be the case since it is a service that NHIF is offering. All we now need to put in place is put a CEO in place to guarantee that the present range of products is designed to benefit all Kenyans fully.” Mr. Kagwe said.

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