In his new role as Chief Executive Officer of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), Mr. Elijah Wachira has been entrusted with a crucial task – overseeing the fund’s transition to the National Social Authority (NSA) and ensuring positive changes in service delivery. During a session at the Parliament buildings, members of the Public Investments Committee on Social Services Administration and Agriculture, led by Chairperson Hon. Emanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), expressed concerns about missing documents necessary for recovering public funds lost due to fraud under Mr. Wachira’s predecessors.
Responding to these concerns, Mr. Wachira assured the Committee that he has diligently worked to locate the required documents, addressing 99% of the requests, and even retrieving historical records. He emphasized his commitment to collaborating with the Committee to address audit queries and investigate misuse of public money, promising transparency and accountability.
The Committee raised various issues from the Auditor-General’s report, including double payments and overpayments in special programs like Linda Mama, as highlighted by Hon. Peter Masara (Suna West). Additionally, Hon. Geoffrey Wandeto (Tetu) questioned the payment schedule from Amaco insurance firm concerning an NHIF vehicle involved in an accident. He opposed the release of the Ksh 4 million claim in installments, suggesting NHIF engage the Insurance Regulatory Authority for resolution.
In response, the CEO requested the Committee’s patience to provide factual reports on all the matters raised, including fraudulent hospital claims and payments. He committed to presenting these reports during the next Committee session. This would also encompass responses related to irregular payments of acting allowances, failure to settle legal expenses, delayed surrender of temporary imprest, unsupported expenditures, budgetary control, performance, and long outstanding return-to-drawer cheques.
“The payment schedule from this insurance firm should be rejected by NHIF, Chair. Any reputable insurance company should have the capacity to handle liabilities, and the Ksh 4 million claimed by NHIF should have been paid in full, not in installments as it is currently being done. NHIF should have engaged the Insurance Regulatory Authority to address this issue,” Hon. Wandeto emphasized.
Mr. Wachira acknowledged the challenges faced during the transition, particularly affecting operations like officer promotions in acting positions, emphasizing that these issues might take longer to resolve due to the ongoing changes within the organization. He assured the Committee of his dedication to resolving these matters transparently and efficiently, working collaboratively to uphold the integrity of NHIF during this crucial period of transition.