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NHIF under probe over cash theft scandal

The National Hospital and Insurance Fund is under fresh investigations over four separate allegations of theft of funds at the national health insurer.

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is also on the spotlight over its new organisational structure that has seen the appointment of directors and heads of department, some of whom have moved up five job groups without having the Public Service Commission qualifications for the promotion to senior positions.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) released four letters addressed to the national insurer in quick succession in an investigation that may have implications for the improvement of Universal Health Coverage, which is one of the Big Four agenda.

In one of the letters, the DCI is investigating the fraudulent acquisition of public property and has requested at least five original documents with signatures and handwriting of 18 former and current staff between 2016-2019.

One of the specimen signatures and handwriting the investigators want is that of former NHIF chief executive Geoffrey Gitau Mwangi, who was accused of allegedly blocking investigations into corruption at the insurer.

CEO Peter Kamunyo in an internal memo announced the new organisational structure, which is part of Health Financing Reforms Expert Panel report that indicates that the fund has weaknesses that affect its operations.

“The current arrangement does not adequately cover all core functions that are needed to make the NHIF a strategic purchaser. Second, the structure is hierarchical and functionally fragmented.

“As a result, the different departments and units operate in silos with very little coordination and communication. This results in bureaucratic inefficiencies,” reads the report in part.

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