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Home Escobar Kenya Ltd Involvement In Sh34M NHIF Fraud Unearthed

Escobar Kenya Ltd Involvement In Sh34M NHIF Fraud Unearthed

The Assets Recovery Agency has moved to court seeking orders to freeze the bank accounts of a man suspected to be involved in the Sh 34,441,587.35 Kenyatta National Hospital scam.

Eric Nguku Mbiu who is the director of Escobar Kenya Limited is suspected to be part of a syndicate involved in a money laundering scheme which fraudulently diverted the above funds from KNH. The funds were intended for repayment of KNH staff loan.

According to the investigating officer Kipkurui Serem, Mbiu’s company was registered in 2014 and has a bank account at the National Bank of Kenya which holds Sh 14,280,345.80. He is the sole signatory and ultimate beneficiary of his company’s account.

He also holds a personal account at the same bank which holds Sh 358,556.33.

The court heard that the company’s account received Sh Sh 34,441,587.35 on 7th June 2023.

“Preliminary invstigations established that the funds originated from Kenyatta National Hospital,” the investigator said.

KNH confirmed vide a letter dated 14th September 2023 that the Sh 34 million which was designated for their NBK Harambee Avenue loan account was diverted to Mbiu’s company account held at the said bank.

The investigator added that after the funds were received in the said account, the respondent withdrew Sh 21,161,241.55 in cash.

The tender

Mbiu, in support of the funds received from the hospital, explained the money was received pursuant to a tender for the supply, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of interventional radiology issued by KNH and provided supporting documents which included a local purchase order dated 13th October 2022.

The respondent is alleged to have confirmed the same to the investigators in his recorded statement dated 3rd October 2023.

According to investigations, the said tender had been advertised by KNH for the proposed construction and equipping of interventional radiology suite.

However, the said tender was cancelled and the same communicated to the bidding companies vide a letter dated 8th March 2023.

It was also established that the respondent did not receive the cancellation letter since he had not submitted a bid for the tender as evidenced by the tender opening register.

A forensic examiner established that the documents submitted by Mbiu in support of the said tender were forged.

“Further preliminary invstigations have established that the respondent colluded with KNH staff to transfer Sh 34,441,587.35 from Kenyatta National Hospital to the 1st respondent’s bank account by use of forged documents,” officer Serem told the court.

In addition, investigations revealed that the fraudulent transfer of the said funds was executed by altering entry number 62 of the payroll administration account no. 01003058005000.

Serem said that the fraud was executed by maintaining the beneficiary institution name as National Bank of Kenya Limited but altering the beneficiary account number to include 01037134639000 held at the said bank in the name of Escobar Kenya Limited.

He added that there is reasonable grounds to believe that respondent’s bank accounts were used as conduits of money laundering in an effort to conceal and disguise the nature, source, disposition or movement of the illicit funds.

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