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NHIS: Executive Secretary paid N508m without due process— Board chairman

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By Emman Ovuakporie

ABUJA—Chairman of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Mrs. Enyatu Ifenne, yesterday, alleged before the House of Representatives panel probing the agency that the suspended Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf, paid consultants N508 milion without due process.

Ifenne, who disclosed this while appearing before the House ad-hoc committee investigating the crisis rocking the agency, also alleged that Yusuf awarded contracts worth millions of naira without approval,

She equally accused the executive secretary of misappropriation of funds and sundry acts of financial recklessness.

She told the committee that from the time the governing board was constituted till the suspension of the executive secretary, there were allegations of award of contracts and spending of millions of naira without approval from the relevant authorities.

According to her, the suspension of the NHIS CEO by the governing board was because it believed that the agency must exercise transparency and accountability.

She told the panelists that there were many issues that led the board to take the suspension decision.

Ifenne said the issues included the financial infractions of the executive secretary, which were queried by the board, the padding of the 2018 budget of the agency and nepotism in terms of posting and remuneration of the workers.”

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She also said in 2015, N508 million was paid to consultants by the NHIS boss for staff training, while another N48 million was expended on posting without due process.

In his submission, representative of the Civil Servants Association of Health Workers, Omomeji Abdulrasak, accused the suspended executive secretary of “orphaning the scheme.”

He disclosed that the suspension of Yusuf was long overdue because he had “flagrantly engaged in corruption, award of contract without due process, abuse of public trust, nepotism in remuneration and posting of staff and diversion of public properties.”

He stated  that there were several attempts by the executive secretary to move away N25 billion from the coffers of the NHIS in an attempt to set up his own home office without recourse to the approving authorities, which was resisted by the staff of the scheme.

He explained thatYusuf awarded contracts of N46 million for maintenance; another N17.5 million for capacity building to Lubek Nigeria Ltd; a company he had a controlling interest in owned by Mr. Hassan Yusuf, one of his nephews

Other financial infractions of the NHIS boss, according to  Abdulrazaq, include using N3.5 million for the purchase of newspapers for his office, N567 million for the payment of seven Police orderlies without approval.

Addressing the committee, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the crisis at the NHIS predated the period of the suspended executive secretary.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari had already waded into the matter by directing the executive secretary to proceed on an administrative leave and constituted a committee to properly investigate the allegations against Prof. Yusuf.

Responding, chairman of the committee, Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), demanded for all documents regarding the allegations levelled against the embattled executive secretary as well as records of staff posting and other necessary documents to aid the investigation.

The suspended executive secretary, is expected to make his presentation today.

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