Sunday, March 26, 2023

EFCC asked to investigate, recover N746m NHIS funds

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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tiamin rice

The panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Health to look into the misappropriation of funds at the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate and recover the sum of N746 million belonging to the scheme.

The suspended executive secretary of NHIS, Yusuf Usman, has had two petitions written against him, which had been forwarded to him for his response. The third petition titled “The Monumental Fraud, Gross Abuse of Office and Nepotic Act Inimical to the Objective of the Scheme Happening in NHIS Under the Leadership of Professor Yusuf Usman” dated 21 April was recently received from the United Youth Alliance Against Corruption.

Key issues raised in these petitions are with regards to unauthorised secondment into the scheme, incurring expenditure without due process, approvals above the threshold of the executive secretary, flagrant disrespect to due process in procurement matters, financial irregularities and award of contracts with impunity.

According to findings from the Panel’s report, there was evidence of breaches to the procurement procedures hence the EFCC have been tasked to recover part of the amount spent for the purported trainings.

“The management of NHIS should be made to recover the sum of N82,342,967.00 which was not approved by the relevant approving authorities for foreign trips and have not been retired in line with the provision of FR 1415(e), from the beneficiaries accordingly,” the report stated.

Furthermore, the management of NHIS was directed to request EFCC to recover the sum of N48, 378,800 only paid to Katamaye Firstcall Hospital for the treatment of three cancer patients

Similarly, the panel further mandated that the sum of N590, 379,800 should be recovered being loss incurred from irregular payments to consultants and for foreign trips.

The report also stated that management of NHIS should be made to recover the sum of N24, 989,104.80 being balance of withholding tax-under deducted from all training consultants who handled the various staff training programmes and remit same to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, accordingly.

“Yusuf Usman was found culpable of contravening the procurement Act 2007, through nepotism and other irregular award of contracts and should be sanctioned in line with the provision of the Act” the report stated.

The executive secretary was alleged to be personally responsible for the unauthorised secondment of officers, and approving payments that are beyond his approval threshold, which is contrary to section 44 by 52 of the Act and Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, on guideline in approval threshold.

The report also allege that the committee arrived at a conclusion that the suspended executive secretary showed a total disrespect to extant rules in his style of administration, procurement and financial lapses.

“The anti- corruption policy of this administration is no respecter of persons and the suspended executive secretary should face the consequences of his actions and inactions,” the report stated.

After sitting for 30 times and examining the petitions and supporting documents, the committee found that the suspended executive secretary carried out secondment for 15 officers against the provision of the NHIS, and allegedly exhibited total disregard and insubordinations to constituted authority, according to a BusinessDay report.

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