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NHIS boss ‘milked the agency dry’, panel says in report indicting him

Yusuf: The Insolent Child Of Impunity

Suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, has been indicted of N919m fraud by the panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Health to probe him.

The indictment was contained in the panel report submitted to the Presidency during the weekend.

According to the report, Yusuf “portrayed a holier-than-thou attitude but in the background, milked the agency dry” by colluding with others to perpetrate fraud to the tune of over N919m.

The panel claimed that the sum of N919m was dubiously issued as payment to consultants for staff training.
It added that as the head of the scheme, Yusuf was personally responsible for all administrative, procurement and financial lapses.

Read also: Health insurance scheme under threat as Minister, Exec Sec fight dirty

“His (Yusuf) deceitful attitude coupled with ‘name-dropping’ of Mr. President as having sent him to sanitise the NHIS caused more harm than good to the scheme,” the report read.

The committee, therefore, recommended that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) probe the agency for diversion of funds and violation of the Procurement Act of 2007.

Describing how the alleged staff training scam was perpetrated, the committee said in some cases, the number of trainees was greater than the entire number of employees at the agency, while in some other instances, some employees were registered for the same training in two different states at the same time.

It said most of the consultants were said to have charged about N250,000 per participant.

Part of the report reads, “The total number of staff at the NHIS is 1,360. The total number of staff trained by the scheme based on analysis of payment vouchers on training was 1,992, while the figure submitted by the NHIS was 2,023 within three months (October-December 2016).

“The difference between the number of staff trained and the number of staff on the nominal roll was as a result of manipulation of names. It was discovered that some staff did not attend (training) but payments were made for both course fee and staff allowances.

“Some consultants were directed to remit part of their fees into a specified private account as kickbacks.

“For instance, GK Kanki Foundation was reportedly directed by the Assistant General Manager (Insurance) at the NHIS, Mr. Vincent Mamdam, to pay N2.8m into a Skye Bank account with number 1040569204 belonging to one Magaji Garba.

“The total course fees paid to the training firms was N508, 036, 096 while staff allowances for all the training was N411, 608, 704 totalling N919, 644, 800.”

The panel said it found out that the Procurement Department of the NHIS was not involved in the engagement of consultants for all the training programmes as the transactions were basically between the suspended NHIS boss and the Human Resources Department in violation of the standard procurement process.

It is not clear how Yusuf will react to this development, having been involved in an aggressive pushback against the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, whom he accused of being behind his travails over his effort to prevent his ill-motivated activities.

Since he had maintained that the minister had no power to suspend him in the first place, it will be interesting to see his reaction to the findings from a panel born of the process of his suspension.

 

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Chidi Chinedu