Jambo Pay bosses to testify against NHIF big fish after Haji offers to drop their Sh1.1bn graft case

By Nancy Gitonga On Wed, 23 Sep, 2020 11:19 | 2 mins read
NHIF building. Photo/File

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has applied to drop corruption charges against the directors of WebTribe Limited over Sh1.1 billion National Health Insurance Fund case.

In the application filed in court, DPP Haji wants instead to use Robert Muriithi Muna and Web Tribe chief executive Danson Muchemi as prosecution witnesses.

“That pursuant to lawful compromise between the DPP and the directors of Web Tribe, the court does grant a pardon to the office of prosecution as enshrined by Section 5(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Act. That consequence thereto Muriithi and Muchemi be freed and or discharged as accused persons in this case and or any other case arising from the same or similar fact,” reads the court papers.

Haji told the court that the directors will be useful as prosecution witnesses since they will give evidence against their co-accused persons over the award of the Sh1.1 billion contract to their firm to manage NHIF revenue collection.

In a letter by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti on behalf of DPP, Murithii and Muchemi have now been forced to be prosecution witnesses although they allegedly received millions of taxpayers money from the national health insurer.

Muteti said that Muriithi and Muchemi were pardoned on condition that they would give testimony as well as allow their staff to testify in the case.

In November last year, Muriithi and Muchemi were charged alongside 18 others, including former NHIF CEOs Simeon Ole Kirgotty and Geoffrey Mwangi, acting company secretary Ruth Sudoi Makallah, senior IT official Gilbert Gathuo Kamau and assistant financial manager Irene Rono and Legal Affairs Manager Pamela Nyabok over the scam.

According to Haji, he wants a charge of fraudulent acquisition of property facing the duo dropped and their cash bail of Sh2 million refunded.

The charge against them states that between August 15, 2014 and October 31, 2018 at Nairobi County, Muchemi and Muriithi being directors of Web Tribe Limited fraudulently acquired public property Sh1,103,063,853.89 from NHIF.

The company was contracted to offer revenue collection services to NHIF without proper planning leading to loss of Sh1.1 billion of public funds.

Their co-accused were charged with 17 counts, among them abuse of office, willful failure to comply with the law relating to the management of public funds among others

However, a non-governmental organization, Global Legal Action Network, has now written to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over the move by DPP to drop charges against Muriithi and Muchemi.

The NGO has raised fears that the Sh1.1 billion NHIF corruption case now risks collapsing due to lack of evidence leading to the acquittal of the accused persons.

The NGO now wants EACC to take action and ensure the Jambo Pay CEO faces the law over the financial scandal.

The letter has since been copied to the National Assembly and Public Service Commission

Web Tribe was awarded a three-year deal in 2014 by NHIF to collect monthly contributions on behalf of the find in exchange for commissions.

The contract was extended for a year to 2018 when NHIF opted to purchase the payment system from Web Tribe for Sh495.2 million.

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