NHIS Crisis: Ministry, suspended scribe trade graft claims

OrderPaperToday – It was a day of dramatic exchanges at the hearing of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the crisis rocking the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as the suspended Executive Secretary, Prof. Usman Yusuf, and the Ministry of Health traded corruption allegations.

While Mr. Yusuf told the committee that a government panel which indicted him was paid N19million to do a hatchet job after he declined a request of N975million from the Ministry, the latter claimed that the former attempted to illegally withdraw the sum of N30billion investment in federal government bonds.

Mr. Yusuf who absolved himself of any wrong-doing in the crisis, blamed the Ministry, Health Management Organizations (HMOs) and the workers union in the agency for been behind his ordeal because of his stance on cleansing the rot.

“The ministry has ambushed me because I refused to grant their fraudulent N975 million request,” Mr. Yusuf who was suspended by the Ministry and the Governing Board of the NHIS at separate times, charged.

In his submission, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Abdulazeez Abdullahi who represented the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said Mr. Usman the suspended executive secretary acted in breach of service rules and should be held responsible for all infractions observed in procurement transactions.

He also said a panel which investigated Usman in July accused him of mismanaging N850million of public funds, adding that the NHIS boss traveled to the Netherlands without approval and was consequently directed to refund the sum of N4million allegedly collected for the trip.

The Chairman of the House committee Mr. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) in his closing remarks assured that all submissions and recommendations by various stakeholders would be duly considered in reaching the committee’s final decision.

He summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha at its next sitting to provide clarity on certain grey areas.

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