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Daily Nation : February 2nd 2014
SUNDAY NATION February 2, 2014 GRAFT | Court rejected defendants’ plea to have criminal charges stayed I’ll recover NHIF money: Tobiko State suing former fund managers and Meridian and Clinix directors for allegedly stealing Sh117m BY BENSON WAMBUGU firstname.lastname@example.org Fund by its top managers and directors of two healthcare providers will emerge when the corruption case facing them starts later this month. The Office of the Director of Public T Prosecutions indicated to the High Court last Wednesday that it has credible evidence to sustain conviction of the former NHIF chief executive Richard Kerich, senior managers Marwa Chacha and David Chingi, and four directors of Clinix Healthcare and Meridian Medical Centre. Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko said he will pursue the suspects to recover millions of taxpayers’ money alleged to have been corruptly obtained from the insurer. Mr Kerich and the managers are charged alongside the directors of Clinix — Dr Anthony Chako and Mr Toddy Madahana — with conspiracy to defraud the insurer of Sh96.5 million meant for provision of medical services to civil servants and members ‘‘ he full extent of the alleged fraud perpetrated against the National Hospital Insurance of the disciplined forces. In subsequent criminal charges, the NHIF managers are accused of colluding with Meridian directors, Mr Peter Ngunjiri Wambugu and Mr Ndiba Warioko, to defraud the fund of Sh116.9 million in the bungled medical scheme. More than 40 witnesses have been lined up to testify against the suspects on various counts, ranging from conspiracy to swindle the fund manager, failure to comply with procurement rules, abuse of office and obtaining money by false pretence. Soon after the DPP gave the nod to charge Mr Kerich and his co-accused, Clinix and Meridian separately moved to the Constitutional Division of the High Court seeking to terminate the charges on grounds they violated fundamental rights and freedoms. They claimed they had not com- mitted any offence to warrant being subjected to the humiliation of a criminal trial, arguing that in the absence of any prima facie case, the charges bordered on extreme malice and ill-will towards them. Through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, the Meridian directors told Justice George Odunga that unless the criminal proceedings in the magistrate’s court were stayed, there was the likelihood they would be convicted and lose the liberty to challenge their innocence in the High Court. However, Justice Odunga declined The accuracy of evidence can only be assessed and tested by a trial in court” Mr Keriako Tobiko to stop the proceedings. “There is no threat of imprisonment for now. In any case, the hearing of the criminal case is yet to commence and the suspects have not even been placed on the defence,” observed the judge. Mr Wambugu and Mr Warioko had argued that if arraigned in court, they would lose both in their calling and business, and urged the judge to block the DPP from instituting corruption charges against them. FILE | NATION Richard Kerich (right), Marwa Chacha (centre) and David Chingi who have been jointly charged with conspiring to defraud the NHIF of Sh116.9 million. The DPP said the decision to charge Mr Kerich and his co-accused was informed by the tangible evidence on record and public interest, and not any other consideration. “The accuracy and correctness of the evidence and facts gathered in an investigation can only be assessed and tested by the trial court,” submitted the DPP, who urged the court to dismiss the petition by Meridian. Could sue government Justice Odunga concurred, saying the petitioner’s moral standing in society was not enough reason to block the criminal trial. He, however, warned that if it turned out that the criminal process was invoked maliciously and without warranted cause, the accused could sue the government. Clinix directors Chako and Mada- hana, through lawyer Jothan Arwa, argued that various government agencies had given the two companies a clean bill of health after it was concluded that there was no corruption, and NHIF had not lost any money in the medical scheme. Meridian, Clinix, Thika Road Health Services and Nairobi West Hospital won an NHIF tender to provide healthcare services to civil servants and members of the disciplined forces on December 3, 2008. Documents tabled in court showed that Meridian was chosen by 34,824 civil servants and members of the disciplined forces and was paid Sh116.9 million, while 58,600 settled for Clinix, which was paid Sh202 million. The accused are out on cash bail awaiting trial before the anti-corruption court in Nairobi. National News 11 Justice for Liz delays as DPP goes slow BY NJERI RUGENE email@example.com Justice for the Busia pupil – fa- mously known as Liz – who was sexually and violently attacked by a group of youths, last June, appears unlikely to come soon after the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko said her case was “too premature to proceed to court’’. Mr Tobiko said a meeting by his officers and “stakeholders on sexual and gender-based violence cases’’ had agreed that the case “not be rushed until the victim can access a counsellor and fill loopholes in the findings”. “Statements in the case seemed vague with contradicting remarks. Members suspected this could be as a result of trauma on the victim,” he said in reference to findings by a team of detectives whom he had directed to review the case. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said the DPP had preferred the charge of causing of grievous harm to the 16-year-old girl’s attackers but allegations of sexual violence would be subjected to further investigations. But in response, three local and international human rights organisations said there was sufficient evidence to charge the suspects with gang-rape and violence. They appealed to Mr Tobiko to reconsider his position and ensure the teenager gets quick justice. “We affirm our position that Liz’s assertions coupled with her supporting witnesses and medical evidence of double fistula are sufficient to lay charges. We call upon the police and DPP to demonstrate that reports of sexual and gender based violence are being taken seriously,’’ their statement read.
February 1st 2014
February 3rd 2014