Cotu protests move to pay suspended clinics Sh218m

Tuesday March 1 2016

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has urged SRC not to peg civil service pay to performance.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli during a past press conference. He says Cotu will move to court over the directive that the NHIF pay millions to two suspended clinics. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EUNICE KILONZO
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The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) will move to court to challenge the payment of nearly Sh218 million to two clinics— Clinix and Meridian— following the termination of their contract with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said the contract was “outrightly non-existent” and that “the contract remains one of the worst corruption cases unearthed in the history of Kenya.”

The two health service providers were suspended by the NHIF board in June 2012 due to alleged irregularities such as fraudulent payment to ghost facilities in the civil servants’ and disciplined forces’ medical cover scheme.

Attorney-General Githu Muigai on February 25 directed that the two clinics be compensated by the NHIF, saying the termination of the contract was “unprocedural”.

This has irked Mr Atwoli, who said in a statement: “Any learned person particularly the legal advisor to the government to order that… [It] was unprocedural and that the NHIF pays as per its obligation is tantamount to abetting corruption and confirming the widely captured perception among majority of Kenyans on the Jubilee Government”.

He also asked the AG to rescind the decision and to stop statements aimed at allowing the NHIF “to pay such colossal amounts of money to non-existent firms”.

Cotu called on the National Assembly Committee on Health not to “be misadvised into making any such recommendation” to pay the two clinics because the whole process of the scheme was “outright corruption on the onset”.

The union further said it sees “an even bigger sinister motive” in the recent removal of Mr Simeon Ole Kirgotty as chief executive of the NHIF.

It claimed there was a plot to “re-open the conduit and the long pipeline of siphoning worker’s funds at the NHIF”.

Mr Kirgotty was replaced by Mr Geoffrey Gitau Mwangi in early February