Key actors privy to the operations of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) on Thursday explained their roles in frustrating moves to siphon N25 billion from the coffer of the Fund.
Ifenne Eyannetu, chairman, NHIS Board and Mohammed Gaji, chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) gave the details while testifying before the House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc Committee investigating the NHIS crisis, chaired by Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta).
These include: unilateral payment of N508 million to consultants for staff training; N3.5 million for the purchase of newspapers for his office, N567 million for the payment of 7 Police orderlies; N48 million expended on staff posting; arbitrary award of contracts without due process; diversion of public properties; among others.
According to Mohammed Gaji, Usman Yusuf, rhe suspended NHIS Executive Secretary, allegedly made several attempts to move N25 billion from the coffers of the NHIS in an attempt to set up his home office without recourse to the approving authorities.
According to him, the suspended Executive Secretary awarded contracts of N46 million for maintenance, N17.5 million for capacity building to Lubek Nigeria Ltd, a company he has a controlling interest owned by one of his nephews, Hassan Yusuf.
Other allegations include: diversion of 8 digital cameras, 4 security saves, 2 refrigerators, 8 vision cameras, 1.5 KVA inverter with batteries, 5 wireless mouse, HP desktop computers and stabilizers.
He also expressed concern over the withdrawal of N10 billion approved by Federal Ministry of Finance and office of Accountant General of the Federation from the coffers of the agency domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria.
On her part, Ifenne Eyannetu argued that the suspension of the NHIS boss was aimed ensuring transparency and accountability.
She explained that the Board had queried Yusuf for engaging in series of financial infractions including: padding of the 2018 budget of the agency, nepotism in terms of posting and remuneration of the workers.
She also said that in 2015, the sum of N508 million was paid to consultants by the NHIS boss for staff training while another N48 million was expended on staff postings.
While ruling, the Ad-hoc Committee requested for relevant financial and posting documents and related documents that will aid the ongoing investigation.
Ossai further observed that the House derives its power to investigate the matter from the provisions of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The investigation is expected to continue on Friday.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja