The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) opposed a petition filed by 12 teachers seeking to halt its contract with a medical insurance firm.
According to Julius Olayo, director of human resource management and development at TSC, the petition was filed after the contract was renewed on Tuesday, December 1.
Olayo added that the petition was outside the court's jurisdiction and the petitioners should have approached the Procurement Review Board for redress.
“To the extent that the petition to quash the execution of the contract between TSC and the insurance firm and a declaration that the procurement process was opaque is not only overtaken by events, but also outside the court's jurisdiction,” argued Olayo.
The new contract is worth Ksh53.3 billion, up from the previous one, which was worth Ksh27 billion and was set to provide health insurance to over 341,000 teachers on the TSC payroll and thousands of others the commission plans to hire.
Olayo asserted that TSC would pay the insurance firm Ksh14.9 billion in the first year. A total of Ksh17.9 billion would be wired to the insurer in the second tranche, and a final batch of Ksh20.6 billion later.
The petitioners claimed they had been forced to pay for their treatment while the insurance firm was paid billions of dollars to provide services.
They complained that before seeking medication, they were asked to send a text message to the insurance firm for identification and asked the court to persuade the company to furnish them with smart cards.
TSC, however, stated that due to budgetary allocations from the National Assembly towards medical cover, it could not fully support the scheme with payments of premiums as stipulated under the Insurance Act.
The allocated funds were, therefore, channelled towards the provision of the core medical services rather than the procurement of smart cards, which have the potential for financial expenses.
According to Olayo, the primary purpose of the smart card is to facilitate its identification of members.
Through its general manager, the insurance firm opposed the cancellation of the contract, stating that under the former agreement, it experienced problems verifying and identifying the patients through the message sent.
"There were over one million lives covered under the scheme, and there may have been some challenges under the previous contract,” the general manager asserted.
Justice Bernard Matanga granted the teachers' lawyer 10 days from Tuesday, December 15, to file evidence in response to the issues raised by TSC and the insurance firm.
The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, 2023.