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Court grants order for KES 213M NHIF fraud case to continue

18 December 2013, 18:00 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - Two former National Hospital Insurance Fund NHIF directors have lost a bid to stop criminal prosecution over allegations of defrauding the health insurer of millions of shillings.

Mr Marwa Fadhili Chacha and Mr David Kipruto Chingi were denied the opportunity to stop criminal proceedings against them over Sh 117M and Sh 96.5M fraud charges respectively.

Justice George Odunga ruled that even though the law provides that no one is liable to civil or criminal proceedings in the performance of their duties, immunity against prosecution cannot stop a criminal proceeding.

“It is clear that the immunity granted under the foregoing provision does not bar the prosecution of a person but only provides that, where an act or omission is done in good faith, the person charged is not liable, at this stage of the proceedings, I am unable to find that the said immunity applies,” Justice Odunga ruled.

He said the provision needs to be exercised on fixed principles and not on private opinions, sentiment and sympathy or benevolence but deservedly based on sound legal principles.

The two had separately filed judicial review suits wanting the criminal charges stopped, claiming that they were innocent and are being accused of performing their duty to their employer.

They had expressed fear that other people in similar situations would have charges laid against them hence the need for such to be halted with immediate effect.

“In this case the applicants have already been charged and the trial is fixed, in my view there is no imminent threat that the challenged proceedings would be determined before these proceedings, judicial review proceedings are meant to avoid technicalities of procedure in order to achieve flexibility, promptness, speed and finality,” judge Odunga said.

The two alongside other three senior officers at NHIF are charged with conspiring to defraud NHIF between December 21, 2011 and February 8, 2012 as well as abuse of office.

They were released on a cash bail of Sh2m each and 40 witnesses are to testify in the case that will be on February 27, 2014 before Chief Magistrate Doreen Mulekyo of the Anti-Corruption court.

- News24

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