Architectural firm barred from demanding Sh1.4 billion from NHIF


Tuesday December 13 2022


NHIF building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Court of Appeal has rejected a consultant’s bid to pursue Sh1.4 billion from the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) over a botched deal to construct a medical centre of excellence.

A bench of three judges ruled that the intended appeal by Baseline Architects Ltd did not meet the threshold to be allowed to proceed.

“In our view, it would not be proper to grant leave to appeal to the applicant under section 39(3)(b) of the Arbitration Act on the ground that the intended appeal raises issues of public importance when the alleged issues were not canvassed in the High Court and the High Court has not rendered itself on the same,” Justices Hannah Okwengu, Kathurima M’Inoti and Sankale ole Kantai said.

The company said it was contracted by NHIF to provide architecturally and lead consultancy services for the establishment of a medical centre of excellence.

READ: Insurers oppose reforms on NHIF contributions

The deal unravelled and the company sued NHIF demanding Sh1.8 billion for professional services offered.

An arbitrator later heard the matter and directed NHIF to pay the consultant Sh1.48 billion.

The State corporation appealed the decision before the High Court and Justice Fred Ochieng (now the court of appeal judge) quashed the award in 2017.

Justice Ochieng ruled that it would be against public policy to spend a colossal amount of money paying for a project that failed to take off.

He added that it would be a mockery of justice to sanction such payment.

The company then appealed, arguing the judge set aside the award by stating that it was “shocking to his conscience” without laying a foundation for any specific ground of public policy issue.

The firm said it was validly procured and offered services, which should be paid.

ALSO READ: NHIF pushes for reforms amid board, CEO fallout

NHIF said it was illegal because the contract was given in breach of procurement laws and the State corporation was ordered to pay huge sums of money for services rendered under an illegal contract.

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Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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