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NHIF SUSPECT ONYANCHA [PHOTO | COURTESY]

Is NHIF suspect, Onyancha, the ‘chopper-owner’ Eric Omondi had complained about?

A suspect in the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) corruption scandal has been accused of occasionally flying in a chopper to his Athi River home – a distance of nearly 30kms from his work station in Nairobi.

Fredrick Sagwe Onyancha’s friends allege that he regularly travels in a copter because “he does not like the inconvenience arising from traffic jams on Nairobi roads”.

According to the sources, 39-year-old Mr Onyancha – occasionally after work – hops onto an aircraft at the Wilson Airport and flies to his Green Park estate home, which is located off the road to Mombasa at Athi River.

What remains unclear is whether he owns or hires the copter(s).

The monthly salary of Mr Onyancha, a tender evaluation committee member at NHIF, is Ksh150, 000. Detectives believe his income cannot finance his lifestyle, which is “worth a king’s ransom”.

In February this year, Kenyan comedian Eric Omondi, who is a resident of Green Park neighbourhood, took to social media to complain about his “wealthy neighbour” who flies a chopper “every day”.

Mr Omondi claimed the aircraft produced noise, which interfered with tranquility in the neighborhood.

“I wanted to share something that has been depressing me. My next-door neighbour has really been stressing us in this neighbourhood. I believe neighbours are supposed to be people who are friendly and ones that we can have a conversation with. Every morning we wake up, we start our cars, and with him, he starts that thing [points at a chopper parked on the field] and flies into the air. When we come back in the evening, we drive through the gate while he descends,” said Mr Omondi in his gripe captured on a 37-second video clip posted to his Instagram page on February 5, 2018.

And today, rumours are rife online that the same chopper-owning neighbour, who Mr Omondi complained about exactly ten months ago, is NHIF’s Fredrick Sagwe Onyancha.

EDAILY reached Mr Omondi for comment.

The comedian, however, could not deny or confirm whether the man he ranted about was indeed Mr Onyancha, saying: “I am not sure if it’s him”.

“I live at Green Park estate in Athi River, and I am quite shocked to read about Mr Onyancha’s story. Yes, [in February this year], I ranted about a man whose choppers produce noise that causes discomfort in the neighbourhood. I am not sure if the same man is Mr Onyancha, though I usually see two choppers parked on a field located in the estate. The man, who owns the choppers leaves quite early in the morning and returns in the evening. He flies the aircrafts nearly on a daily basis. His home is located a few meters from mine,” Mr Omondi told EDAILY on phone on Tuesday, December 11.

On Monday, December 11, Mr Onyancha was among those charged with several counts of abuse of office and flouting of procurement procedures in a Ksh500 million scandal, which has rocked the NHIF. He was, however, released on a Ksh500, 000 bond.

Mr Onyancha was employed by NHIF in 2007 as a customer care officer on a monthly salary of Ksh50, 000, and in 2013 was assigned to the tender evaluation committee. By this time, his monthly income had been upped to Ksh150, 000.

His lifestyle, thereafter, changed supremely, with detectives saying they are investigating just how he managed to splash over Ksh160 million on 8 mansions in Athi River.

Among other high-end properties that he allegedly owns include a luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser V8 and a Range Rover Sport HSE.

Mr Onyancha and 19 others have been accused of engaging in multi-million shilling graft at the NHIF, which prosecutors termed, before a Nairobi court on Monday, as “worse than murder”.

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