The National Hospital Insurance Fund building in Nairobi in this photo taken on February 9, 2022. Photo | Jeff Angote | Nation
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The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) is at risk of losing Ksh.5.3 billion in what a Parliamentary Committee has termed as a fraudulent plot to con Kenyans billions of shillings. The fund is also likely to lose a 10 acre piece of prime land in Nairobi’s Karen suburbs.

During a Public Investments Committee on Social Services, Administration, and Agriculture hearing on Wednesday, it was revealed that the entity could lose the monies owing to illegalities in acquiring the land and contracting various agencies to build a car park on the said property.

The long-standing saga stems to 2002 when NHIF purportedly acquired the land that is being claimed by Peter David Leparuku.

The Committee was informed by Nairobi City County that the owner had made the payments, therefore their attempts to pay the land rates were unsuccessful.

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According to the NHIF CEO Elijah Wachira, the fund has not paid land rates since 2013. However, this year’s attempt to pay was unsuccessful as the county notified them that Leparuku had already paid the rates.

“There is no record to show that NHIF has been paying the land rates since 2013, what I can confirm is that we tried to pay this year, but the county could not accept because someone else had already paid.” Wachira told the Emmanuel Wangwe-led committee.

The committee also questioned how the fund invested in land in defiance of government regulations prohibiting such transactions, despite the possibility of losing the land.

The fund originally planned to develop a hospital on the land, but it later decided to construct a multi-story parking lot structure instead. The project was supposed to cost Ksh.2.1 billion, but under strange circumstances, the cost unexpectedly increased to Ksh.3.9 billion.

‘’The sum agreement of building the car park was Sh. 2.1, how did it then change to 3.9 billion? Can we then conclude that someone pocketed Ksh.1.8 billion shillings?” Wangwe posed.

Wachira told the committee that there are no records to show how the variation was done, even as he insisted that his team had brought all the available evidence.

‘’We have no interest in this matter and we were not there during this transaction. We have come with all the documentation on the same that we could lay our hands on,” he said while informing the committee that there is now way to determine how much cash NHIF collects from the car park.

The Karen land saga may create a major hole in the newly established new Social Heath Insurance Fund (SHIF) which is expected to take over when NHIF folds.

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