By Prof.Peter Anyang' Nyongo'
Date: May 6, 2012
On Thursday morning, May 3rd this week, I suspended the Chairman of the Board of the NHIF after he sent the CEO and 4 other managers on leave and appointed others in their positions without proper procedure and without proper approval by the Board.
On Saturday, May 5th this week, the Acting Head of the Civil Service, Mr. Francis Kimemia, announced that the Board is suspended and the CEO sent on leave without consulting me. Mr. Kimemia has no such powers and cannot decide to micro-manage the Ministry of Medical Services.
I therefore want to state very clearly, as the Minister of Medical Services, that the status quo remains in the NHIF following my decision on Thursday, and both the Board and the CEO are under my instructions to continue with their work without any interference by any other person.
Mr. Kimemia took that precipitous action after a day long meeting with the following: Atwoli, Hon. Kambi Kazungu, Kirigo, Mucai, Okwaro, Prof. Muga and Kibara who is the PS, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. He only heard the side of the story he wanted to hear.
During this meeting, allegations made by Kazungu, Atwoli and Muga regarding corruption in the NHIF were discussed. It was alleged that the whole scheme to increase NHIF contributions is a plot by the ODM to raise money for elections.
It was further said that, as Minister for Medical Services, I usually travel abroad to bank money taken from the NHIF. The CEO of the NHIF is my accomplice and that is why I am protecting him.
Mr. Kimemia has been convinced by Atwoli, Kazungu and Muga that the situation is so serious that he must intervene in the affairs of the Ministry.
Similar allegations have been made in other ministries in this government and I have not seen Mr. Kimemia taking over the responsibility of the Minister. In the Ministry of Transport we have the KPA issue. In the Ministry of Finance there was the De La Rue issue. In the case of the National Housing Corporation matter the Minister took full charge.
Kenyans are aware that the Parliamentary Committee on Health is currently investigating allegations at the NHIF regarding mismanagement of the implementation of the Civil Service, Disciplined Forces, Police and Teachers insurance scheme. This process is not yet complete and we all await the final report after it has been debated in Parliament. The NHIF has cooperated fully with the Committee.
Moreover, there is already a reform agenda being implemented by the NHIF following the reports of both Alexander Forbes and IFC/Deloitte. The recommendations by the latter envisaged undertaking several changes in the Board and service provision, both of which require changes in the NHIF Act. I initiated and spearheaded these reforms and I know the direction we are heading. I appreciate the changes needed but they must not be undertaken in a politicized environment.
In the meantime, the Government asked NHIF to implement the Civil Service scheme last December more or less as a crash program. This scheme is hardly four months old. It is bound to have teething problems of implementation for some time, just like the Free Primary Education program had when we first implemented it under the NARC government. Rather than concentrate on finding solutions to these problems, wild allegations are being made and confirmed recklessly essentially to derail the whole project.
I would like to clarify that it is the Prime Minister who is in charge of the coordination and functioning of government ministries. In that office there are relevant and competent institutions that can look into the matters that are of concern in the workings of the NHIF.
I intend to discuss with the Prime Minister possibilities of sending the EMU to NHIF without interfering with the work of the Parliamentary Health Committee. I will also propose to him that we use Deloitte and Touch, a professional management firm already familiar with the NHIF, to undertake a thorough forensic audit of the NHIF to verify the wild allegations by the Kimemias, Atwolis and Kazungus of this world.
Let me end by saying that the future of the Coalition Government is being put in jeopardy by the dangerous machinations in the Office of the President, quite likely without the knowledge of HE the President himself. A Dirty Tricks desk has been set up to manufacture scandals in the ODM ministries and to derail the Prime Minister and his ministers.
While I am the current target, next in line are Hon. James Orengo and Hon. Fred Gumo. Others will follow later. That is why I would like to urge the Parliamentary Health Committee to finalize its investigations properly and a professional firm to do the forensic audit of the NHIF urgently so that we expose this shenanigan for what it is worth. I would not like Mr. Kimemia and his ilk to turnish my reputation and character in this process of manufacturing scandals.
Hon. P. Anyang' Nyong'o
Minister of Medical Services.