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Yet another night in cell for NHIF bosses

  by Bernice Mbugua

@BerniceMuhindi

National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) chief executive  Geoffrey Mwangi and chief finance officer Wilbert  Kurgat spent another night at Industrial Area Prison yesterday after a Nairobi court denied them bail.

The two had  spent four nights at Muthaiga Police Station before they were arraigned yesterday charged  with conspiracy to defeat justice and disobedience of lawful orders and will know their fate today on whether they will be released on bail.

Taking plea

NHIF bosses were arrested on Friday but their lawyers objected to them pleading to the said charges saying they were defective and did not meet the constitutional threshold.

Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi however, dismissed the application, saying there was no reason to suspend the plea taking since the charges can always be amended

Andayi further said the two bosses had not disputed that indeed they had been served with the court order and if they wanted any clarification concerning the said order they should have gone back to court for clarification.

The two denied that they knowingly prevented the execution of a court order requiring production for scrutiny of any book or books of evidential value in connection with the investigations being undertaken by Chief Inspector Nephat Marubu of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

The accused are alleged to have committed the offense on  November 21  at NHIF headquarters along Ragati road, Upperhill within Nairobi county.

Prosecution, led by Alexander Muteti, opposed their release on bail saying they will interfere with investigations and that they have demonstrated they are persons who cannot obey court orders.

Mwangi is alleged to have sent an SMS to Kurgat directing him not to share the documents demanded by the investigators.

According to the prosecution, this shows they actively interfered with the investigations.

“One of the consideration for bail is the character of the accused, they have shown a character of disobeying court order and this shows they cannot obey bail terms if granted,” said the prosecution.

However, Mwangi and Kurgat’s lawyers requested  they be released on bail as it is a constitutional right and they should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Through lawyer Migos Ogamba, they accused the prosecution of violating their right to privacy when they obtained the alleged messages.

Andayi will rule today noon whether to grant them bail.

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