NHIF bosses to spend another night in police cell
Two top officials of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will spend another night in police custody pending a ruling on whether they will be charged for allegedly obstructing ongoing graft investigations at the insurance company.
NHIF Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Mwangi and Chief Finance Director Wilbert Kurgat were arraigned before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi but did not take plea after the defence challenged the offences outlined on the charge sheet.
Through Lawyer Tom Ojienda, the NHIF bosses argued that the charge preferred against them is ambiguous, therefore cannot be obeyed and pleaded upon.
“Any trial that proceeds on the basis of a defective charge is a mistrial,” Prof. Ojienda told the court.
According to the prosecution, Mwangi and Kurgat jointly and knowingly prevented the execution of a court order allowing for a scrutiny of the corporation’s “books” to facilitate investigation of loss of millions of shillings at NHIF.
“Between September 26, 2018 and November 23, 2018 at the NHIF headquarters along Ragati Road, Upperhill within Nairobi jointly conspired to defeat the course of justice by knowingly preventing the execution of a court order issued by Resident Magistrate Sinkiyan Tobiko on September 25, 2018 requiring production for scrutiny of any books or books of evidential value in connection with investigations being undertaken by Chief Inspector Nephat Marubi of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters,” reads the charge sheet.
Ojienda submitted that the charge was defective since it did not specify which documents the accused had withheld from auditors who are probing alleged theft of millions of shillings at NHIF.
The two, who were arrested on Friday, are also facing another charge of disobedience of lawful orders contrary to the law.
The court will issue a ruling on Tuesday on whether the two charges against Mwangi and Kurgat are defective.
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