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How NHIF blew billions in bogus venture

Friday August 3 2018

National Hospital Insurance Fund

NHIFchief executive officer Geoffrey Mwangi. The agency may have lost Sh93 million after it emerged that a 23-acre parcel of land it claimed to have bought in 2002 actually belongs to a group from the Maasai community. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) may have lost Sh93 million after it emerged that a 23-acre parcel of land it claimed to have bought in 2002 actually belongs to a group from the Maasai community.

Mr Peter David Leparakwo yesterday tabled documents before the Public Investments Committee (PIC) of the National Assembly showing that he is the owner of the disputed land in Karen currently valued at Sh1.3 billion.

The watchdog committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff also heard that five other entities have title deeds showing that they own the land.

INHERITED

Mr Leparakwo, who is the trustee of the group, said that he inherited the land LR No. 24968/2 from a white settler, A.J. Faulkner and Sons Limited, in 1982 when he worked for him.

The 76-year-old said that he and other four persons not before the committee were given the land through a letter to the Ministry of Lands as a token of appreciation for working for Mr Faulkner. The group had four members initially, but has since grown to 90 with Mr Leparakwo as leader.

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NHIF claims that it bought the disputed land from Kaskazi Limited.

REGISTERED

The land was initially registered under 13782, but when they processed the land documents, it was registered under 24968/1 and 24968/2.

Lands Principal Secretary Dr Nicholas Muraguri, the office of the Attorney-General and Nairobi county commissioner have all said that the land belongs to Mr Leparakwo.

“According to government records held in Central Registry- Nairobi, the title LR No. 24968/2 is registered and owned by Peter David Leparakwo,” Mr Muraguri says in the January 16, 2018 letter addressed to Mr Leparakwo’s advocate, Anya Kalwa.

DRAWINGS

NHIF is also in the eye of a storm after it emerged that it paid Sh1.4 billion for no work done on the parcel.

When he appeared before the committee last week, NHIF managing director Geoffrey Mwangi was unable to account for the expenditure, forcing the committee to stand him down.

The genesis of the scandal can be traced back to 2002 when the public insurance provider claimed acquisition of the land. After the alleged acquisition, NHIF got a survey and drawings done with the intention of putting up a resource centre.

PROTESTED

NHIF would then send a team of architects, engineers and consultants to the ground, but they could not do anything after Mr Leparakwo’s group protested. They were still paid Sh1.4 billion despite doing nothing as per their agreement with NHIF.

But even after this turn of events, the NHIF management went ahead to change the concept from a resource centre to the construction of a medical facility even before the courts could settle the ownership dispute.

Another team of architects, consultants and engineers would again be sent to the land. This time, the team billed NHIF Sh7 billion, again for no work done. In the thick of this controversy, there was a change of guard at the health insurer. The new management refused to play ball, forcing the team to move to court.