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Kenyan woman entangled in Sh10billion fraud

A Kenyan woman in the US has been implicated in a Sh10 billion scam involving funds from the country’s healthcare scheme. Winnie Waruru, 41, and her co-conspirator Faith Newton were on Monday indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, paying and receiving kickbacks, money laundering and making false statements. According to court documents, from January 2013 to January 2017, Newton was part owner and operator of Arbor Homecare Services. Waruru was a Licensed Practical Nurse working as a home health nurse at Arbor. It is alleged that Newton and Waruru engaged in a conspiracy to use Arbor to defraud health insurance providers MassHealth and Medicare of at least Sh10 billion by committing healthcare fraud and paying kickbacks to induce referrals. Newton then allegedly laundered the ill-gotten gains. Specifically, it is alleged that Arbor, through Newton and others, failed to train staff, billed for home health services that were never provided or were not medically necessary and billed for home health services that were not authorised. Arbor, through Newton and others, developed employment relationships as way to pay kickbacks for patient referrals, regardless of medical necessity requirements. They also entered sham employment relationships with patients’ family members to provide home health aide services that were not medically necessary and routinely billed for fictitious visits that Newton knew did not occur.

Bought lavish homes

As alleged in the civil complaint, Newton either directly or through Arbor, targeted particularly vulnerable patients who were low-income, on disability and/or suffering from depression and/or addiction. According to the indictment, Waruru and Arbor billed MassHealth for Waruru’s skilled nursing visits, many of which she did not perform. Waruru also passed cash payments from Newton to an Arbor patient to retain that patient, according to prosecutors. Newton allegedly used the laundered proceeds of the Sh10 billion scheme to buy multiple homes and a Maserati and to fund investment accounts, a lavish lifestyle and numerous financial transactions.

Forfeiture of properties

The civil forfeiture case seeks to forfeit to the United States five properties in different towns and cities and to forfeit the contents of 40 bank accounts and/or investments. Newton and a family member allegedly paid themselves approximately Sh4 billion from the profits, while Newton allegedly paid Waruru over Sh45 million. Federal officials filed a separate civil lawsuit seeking forfeiture of the properties, as well as financial accounts and investments involved in Newton’s alleged money-laundering scheme. In that civil complaint, prosecutors accuse Newton of targeting vulnerable patients who were poor, on disability and/or suffering from depression and/or addiction. “I will tell you that we’re going to zealously defend her action,” Sayeg said. “She is completely denying the allegations, and we look forward to her time in court to try these matters.” Waruru’s attorney, Stellio Sinnis of the Federal Public Defender Office, declined to comment. Following their initial appearance on Monday, Waruru was released after posting a Sh5 million unsecured bond. Agencies involved in the case include the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Attorney’s Office. –

Kenya government has extended the deadline for migrating to the e-passport by another 10 months

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i displays the new e-passport

launched at the Nairobi immigration offices on August 31, 2017.

The government has extended the deadline for migrating to the e-passport by another 10 months due to disruptions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i made the announcement on Thursday, saying the new deadline is December 31. “Starting January 1, 2022, the old dark blue passport will be null and void and no Kenyan will be able to travel internationally without a valid East African Community biometric e-passport,” he said. Kenya has been phasing out the old-generation passports as part of a binding commitment to migrate to the new EA e-passport. CS Matiang’i explained that at the height of the pandemic, the Directorate of Immigration Services scaled down its operations in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. “To make up for the disruption in service, [I have] extended the deadline for voiding the old passport by a further 10 months,” he said. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, this is the last extension, and Kenyans are advised to make the necessary arrangements and acquire the electronic passports at the earliest opportunity possible to avoid travel inconveniencies.” –

Anne Esilaba of Croydon, UK, has Lost Her Husband

Late Bartholomew Amuko Esilaba
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing on to glory of Bartholomew Amuko Esilaba in London on 26th January 2021. Loving husband to Anne Esilaba. Devoted dad to Michael, Beatrice, Samuel, Rachel and Linda Esilaba. He was brother to Dr Anthony Esilaba, Peter Mabwa, Martha Iddy and Calvin Esilaba; nephew to Florence Machayo, Watindi Babu Eshikhati and Ruth Eshikhati amongst others. Brother-in-law to the Omuteres, Rosemary and Lucy. Uncle to Sherry, Ian, Andrew, Leah and Jael amongst others. Arrangements are underway to repatriate Bartholomew to his final resting place in Luanda Sub County, Vihiga, Kenya.

We kindly request the well wishers who would like to support the Family financially with contributions to kindly use the following details;
Name: Mrs Anne Esilaba

Bank: Barclays Bank,

Sort Code: 20-24-64

Account: 303 92 790

MPESA: To +254 722 648610 in the name of Dickson Lugonzo.

For more information, Please, contact Musa Ndengu Mwendwa on +44 7846 568660.

May God rest Bartholomew’s soul in eternal peace. Amen.

American Sues Kenyan Woman Over Lost Ksh40m

Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) founder Dr Martina Fuchs.

An American national identified as Dr Martina Fuchs has sued a Kenyan woman for the alleged embezzlement of Ksh40.6 million meant to help children from needy families in Turkana. Ms Mwanaidi Kheyo Makhoha, a project manager, was charged at a Kiambu court with forging receipts to embezzle over Ksh40.6 million between 2011 and 2016. The court heard that Makhoha posted contradictory reports of what was happening in Turkana to the organisation. Fuchs, the founder of the US-based foundation dubbed Real Medicine Foundation (RMF), indicated that Ksh64,218,605 donated towards the project could not be accounted for. The court charged Makokha with theft of money and forgery of receipts for purchase of various items and services from Muthaiga Travel Agencies, Maresh Health Care Limited, Uchumi Stores, Salama Cyclemart & Hardware, Bungoma West Pharmacy Limited (Kimilili), Dayash Epress Medics, Challymax Importers Limited and air tickets from Fly540. The complainant’s lawyer Pauline Kiteng’e, lamented that the case had taken too long before a judgement was made, arguing that Dr Martina Fuchs had incurred enormous expenses during the period. “Dr Fuchs feels that justice is not being done given that its five years now when the trial begun,” she said. Magistrate Grace Omotho, indicated that the delay witnessed followed the transfer of two other magistrates. She directed the case to proceed on May 19, 2021. Makokha is currently out on bond, but has denied the 10 counts she is being charged with. –

Bus driver killed wife ‘after she asked him to move out because he had Covid’

Hussein Egal, 66, allegedly murdered 57-year-old Maryan

Ismail at their flat in Edmonton, north London

A bus driver bludgeoned his wife in a ‘frenzied’ attack after she asked him to move out because he was suffering from coronavirus, a court heard today. Hussein Egal, 66, allegedly murdered 57-year-old Maryan Ismail at their flat in Edmonton, north London, during the first lockdown on April 6 last year. The Old Bailey was told he used a variety of household items including a table leg and ladder to inflict horrific injuries during the brutal attack. Egal has admitted carrying out the killing but denies it was murder. On Wednesday, prosecutor Allison Hunter QC described the scene at the victim’s home in Edmonton, north London. She told jurors it was a ‘brutal, frenzied, sustained attack involving the use of a hammer, a knife or knives, pots and pans, a table leg and a ladder plunged repeatedly into her back, chest, legs and head’. Mrs Ismail, a school cleaner, was found partially naked on the floor of the blood-splattered lounge. Jurors heard an examination identified 68 sites of injuries all over her body. They included multiple slash and stab wounds to her face, head and the entire length of her body, Ms Hunter said.

The Somalian defendant had offered a number of explanations for the killing. Ms Hunter said: ‘Over the course of the investigation he has offered a number of suggested explanations for why and how. ‘To the concierge who called the police, he said he hit her over the head with something the night before. ‘To the officer escorting him out of the police van on arrival at the police station, he said that a thief or thieves stole money while he was in Tottenham High Road and fraudulently used his bank cards, and they should be traced and found because they were the cause of him killing his wife. ‘To that same officer, minutes later, he said that his wife had threatened him that he must leave her accommodation because he was – he says – suffering from Covid-19, and he had said to her “I will kill you first” and so he had.

‘Later, through a statement prepared by a legal advisor and prior to interview by police, he said that he was delusional as a result of mental illness he claimed to have suffered years ago.’ He also alleged that his wife had attacked him with a table leg and he had defended himself, the court heard. But Ms Hunter told jurors Egal demonstrated no symptoms of Covid-19 and had not a single defensive injury. Hussein Egal denies murder (Picture: Central News) The prosecutor rejected his claim to have been mentally ill at the time. Egal washed a meat cleaver used in the attack, disposed of his wife’s mobile phone and visited the bank to transfer money to his daughter in Somalia, the court was told. Ms Hunter said it could only have been Egal’s intention to ‘cause her the most serious harm imaginable’. She added: ‘His motive is something only he knows.’ Ms Hunter said the attack ‘bore all the hallmarks of temper and rage’.

Mike Sonko faces terror charges in evening court session

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko in the dock on February 3, 2021.

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was on Wednesday taken to Kahawa West Law Courts to face terrorism charges. The court, which had closed for the day, reopened to hear a request by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who were seeking to hold him for 30 days. Sonko was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Diana Mochache. He is accused of recruiting a militia group that disrupted peace and stability in the country. Earlier today, his lawyer – Dr John Khaminwa – had claimed that the ex-county boss was transferred to Kamiti Maximum Prison from Gigiri police station. The veteran criminal lawyer said the transfer was contrary to a court order that the dethroned governor should be detained in Gigiri until Thursday when he returns to the Kiambu Law Courts for a bail ruling. On Tuesday morning, Sonko denied all 12 charges levelled against him. He was charged with assault, robbery with violence and destruction of property linked to alleged forced entry into a property in Buru Buru estate back in 2019. He is accused of assaulting a Mr Alex Kioko, thereby occasioning him bodily harm. He is also accused, along with others not before court, of assaulting Mr Musyoki Kavunda and John Mungai Wanjiru at the same property. He appeared before Kiambu senior principal magistrate Stella Ataambo. –

More misery for taxpayers as Sh7.2trn debt to double in 2030

The country’s debt, which hit Sh7.12 trillion by last September is projected to double in the next nine years, says the latest Parliamentary Budget Office report. By 2030, it is estimated Kenya’s debt could account for more than 100 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which refers to the monetary value of all finished goods and services expected in the country by then. “In the current financial year, debt is forecasted to reach Sh7.8 trillion and will account for approximately 69 per cent of GDP and 87 per cent of the total debt ceiling. Indeed, the debt stock is projected to double by June 2030 and could account for over 100 per cent of GDP,” the report states. And on the eve of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s final year in office, debt service (debt principal and interest payments) will cross the Sh1 trillion mark in the 2021/22 financial year and will be domestically driven.

Sh1trn debt repayment

According to the report, debt repayment, estimated at Sh925 billion in 2020/21 financial year, will reach Sh1.023 trillion by the end of the 2021/22 financial year. “To manage this situation, lengthening the maturity of existing securities may be necessary even though this will transfer debt to future generations,” states the PBO’s report on budget options for 2021/2022 financial year and the medium term. The Sh7.12 trillion debt chalked up by last September accounts for 65.6 per cent of GDP and 79 per cent of the statutory debt ceiling of Sh9 trillion.

Piling loans

Titled ‘Evading Recessionary Pressure Under a Mounting Debt Burden,’ the report blames the piling loans on expenditure pressures related to infrastructure and debt servicing coupled with decline in revenue generation. “This trend is projected to continue over the medium term as the expansionary economic blueprint, the need for fiscal stimulus and debt servicing obligations continue to drive expenditures even as revenue generation remains low and the economy continues to underperform,” the report adds. As a consequence of the poor economy, the report cites closure of many companies over the past two years.

Companies shut down

At least 388 companies shut down in 2019, according to the Registrar of Companies. The country’s foreign direct investment declined by Sh31 billion in 2019 and is estimated to have shrunk by 40 per cent last year. “Concerns with regard to debt accumulation, particularly among investors, may also lead to loss of access to cheap external markets,” the report cautions. Parliament budget experts also caution guaranteed debt is a significant risk to the country’s debt position. As of June 2020, guaranteed debt amounted to Sh165.2 billion, reflecting a 276 per cent increase since June 2015. This increase is as a result of increase in commercial debt — Sh79.9 billion (guarantee provided to Kenya Airways) and bilateral credit Sh80.6 billion (guarantees to capital projects undertaken by KenGen and the Kenya Ports Authority). The report observes the Sh9 trillion statutory debt ceiling has been weak in controlling the borrowing spree as it is “not considered a sustainability indicator but a legal limit.” “It is a numerical limit, arbitrarily set, and delinked from macroeconomic factors that determine the debt-carrying capacity of a country, alongside other factors. Furthermore, it limits the regulatory role of the public debt management office given that there is a single regulatory parameter, which is already fixed. Choice of ceiling will promote transparency and use of better sustainability measures.”

Tackling cash crisis

Among proposals to tackle the cash crisis are: a freeze on new projects; rescheduling debt to free more money to finance expenditure in the budget and cutting down on unnecessary spending by state corporations; public servants should continue working from home; government to encourage shift to online platforms for meetings and increase development expenditure financed through external resources. The policy options to address the runaway debt include the government to stop domestic borrowing and an increase in concessional financing. By taming domestic borrowing, it will slow down debt growth and concessional external debt will be used to replace or buy out expensive domestic or external debt. Parliament budget experts also propose that medium term debt service expenditures must be reduced to no more than 3.4 per cent of GDP. Targeted reduction of debt servicing expenditure alongside reduction of non-core recurrent expenditures will have a higher effect of easing fiscal space.

Revise debt ceiling

The report also recommends the revision of the arbitrarily set debt ceiling, arguing that as designed, it creates a regulatory flaw as it is delinked from the rest of the economy. Choice of a ratio would provide a debt limit that is more responsive to both liquidity and solvency concerns and lead to prudent debt management practice.

But it is not all gloom.

The report projects the economy is estimated to grow by 0.5 per cent in 2020, increasing to 1.3 per cent in 2021 and 4.3 per cent in 2022. This is based on the prevailing circumstances and assuming no significant change in policy. Risks to economic growth include how long the Covid-19 pandemic will take to resolve. “Even though successful vaccine trials have been reported by several pharmaceutical companies, how effective they are in bringing the pandemic to an end will depend on a number of factors,” the report cautions. There are concerns about acceptability in some regions due to fear mongering as well as challenges in scaling up production and distribution of the vaccine on a global scale.

Covid-19 vaccines availability

“Already, equity concerns are emerging in terms of who gets the vaccine first and at what cost, with concern that these vaccines may not be available to developing economies at least until end of 2021.” Political uncertainty due to election fever that has set in rather early in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum campaigns as well as various by-elections. “History has shown that economic growth tends to be muted during electioneering periods. This is attributed to a rather challenging business environment and a wait and see approach by investors pending the outcome of the elections. Thus the political environment will continue to be a key driver affecting growth until end of 2022.” Other factors that could affect growth are erratic weather patterns and corruption.

NHIF enrolment

On universal health coverage, the report urges authorities to make it mandatory for Kenyans aged between 18 and 65 years to be enrolled under the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) social insurance scheme. It recommends that the elderly (above 65 years) and vulnerable persons be supported by the government to enrol under the NHIF cover through a yearly government supported capitation. On social safety net programmes, the report proposes that the cash transferred through the “Inua Jamii” programme for the financial year 2021/22 be increased by Sh6.5 billion to compensate for further loss of income to beneficiaries

Kenya’s Covid-19 In Summary

There were no reported deaths on Tuesday and therefore cumulative fatalities remain at 1,766.

There are 471 patients currently admitted in various health facilities countrywide, while 1,471 are on Home Based Isolation and Care.

27 patients are in the ICU, 12 of whom are on ventilatory support and 15 on supplemental oxygen.

153 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Kenya out of a sample size of 3,922 tested in the last 24 hours.

The total confirmed positive cases are now 101,009 with cumulative tests so far conducted at 1,192,605.

From the cases 123 are Kenyans while 30 are foreigners while 91 are males while 62 are females.

The youngest is a one-year-old child while the oldest is 80.

Deaths caused by alcohol hit a new high during the first nine months of 2020,

provisional figures for England and Wales show. Between January and September

, 5,460 of these deaths causes were registered – up 16% on the same months

in 2019. It is the biggest toll recorded since the records began in 2001.

Beekeeper told his 15,000,000 bees could be seized and burned because of Brexit

Patrick Murfet wants to bring 15million bees to the UK but they could be seized and destroyed

A beekeeper trying to bring 15 million bees into the UK says he has been told they may be seized and burned because of post-Brexit laws. Patrick Murfet wants to import the baby Italian bees for his Kent business and to help farmers pollinate valuable crops. But new laws that came into effect after the UK left the single market mean that bringing bees into the country is banned. Since the end of the transition period, only queen bees can be imported into Great Britain, rather than colonies and packages of bees. However, confusion over whether bees can be brought in via Northern Ireland has caused a legal headache. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it is aware of the issue and is working with the devolved administrations to find a solution. Patrick said: ‘I am a passionate beekeeper, I’ve been doing it for nearly 20 years.’ He is managing director of Bee Equipment, based near Canterbury, and every year he imports large numbers of bees from breeders in Italy, where the climate is warmer. For decades, bees have been imported to replenish stocks, strengthen breeding lines and as early-awakening pollinators for fruit and honey farms in the UK. But the new ban could put this in jeopardy.