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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Kirigotty future at NHIF hangs in

National Hospital Insurance Fund boss Simeon Kirgotty’s tenure might not be renewed if a plot being hatched succeeds. The plan is crafted by top Jubilee operatives who claim Kirgotty is sympathetic to Cord and owes his allegiance to the opposition and not to the Jubilee administration which he serves. He is even accused of campaigning for Cord presidential candidate Raila Odinga in 2013.
Jubilee schemers say his controversial appointment was during the tenure of then Medical Services minister Anyang’ Nyongo in the Grand Coalition government.
Kirgotty’s appointment letter was dated August 7 2012. Nyong’o appointed Kirgotty, who was the director of administration at the ministry of Medical Services, to take over from Adan Mohammed, who had been heading the caretaker committee appointed in July, to sort Sh4. 6 billion mess.
 “I have appointed you to hold on briefly at the NHIF while I make arrangements to appoint the new board with which you will work to superintend reforms at the Fund,” said Nyong’o in the letter to Ole Kirgotty.
His official appointment after acting for months was through a Kenya Gazette Notice no.1459 dated January 21 2013 and signed by Nyong’o. The Gazette Notice reads “In exercising of the powers conferred by section 10 (1) of the National Hospital Insurance Fund Act, the minister for Medical Services appoints – Simeon Ole Kirgotty to be the chief executive officer of the National Hospital Insurance Fund, for a period of three years, with effect from the January 15 2013”.
While making the appointment, in a letter written to Kirgotty through then PS Medical Services and copied to the PS office of then Prime Minister Mohammed Isahakia, Nyong’o had asked Kirgotty to work to superintend reform measures at NHIF. He assumed office on August 21 2012.
Sources say Jubilee leaders believe that Kirgotty is still a loyal ODM supporter to the extent that he secretly campaigned for Cord during the Kajiado Central by-election. He is at one time said to have been a close ally to Internal Security CS Joseph Nkaissery who brokered his appointment as NHIF boss. For now, Nkaissery is said to have no influence in Jubilee as he is new and cannot influence things. The person out to have Kirgotty shown the door is Health cabinet secretary James Macharia.
Having been appointed in January 2013 for a term of three years, his term is set to end in January 2016. Those pushing for his removal now want him to go for terminal leave in June this year to allow the NHIF board to appoint a new CEO.
But sources close to Kirgotty revealed that he is being targeted in the looming purge in the parastatals in which Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to make key changes.
Going by the revised NHIF rates already effective from April 1 2015, there are those in Jubilee who want one of their own to control the billions NHIF will be collecting monthly. Already power barons have managed to have Kaps, a controversial firm linked to Uhuru’s uncle George Muhoho to help in the collection of the new rates. Muhoho is Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s brother and was the MD at Kenya Airports Authority during the Kibaki era. Kaps collects parking fees in all airports in Kenya and had also entered in a deal with Narok county to manage the Masaai Mara National Park funds.
The NHIF’s new membership regime will see monthly contributions rise by up to 525pc, more than tripling the fund’s annual revenue. The new fees will put more than Sh20b billion in the hands of NHIF management even as the agency’s latest financial statement shows that it spent a third of last year’s pool of funds on salaries and administrative costs. The scheme has a separate band for the self-employed, who will pay Sh500 per month for similar range of services from the fund.