Politics

Reps probe illegal withdrawal of N10bn NHIS fund allegedly authorized by Finance Minister

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By Editor

The House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated the committees on Healthcare Services and Finance and Anti-Corruption to probe N10 billion allegedly withdrawn from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) fund.

The fund was said to have been authorised by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun without the input of the NHIS, which the lawmakers said was in contravention of the laws and regulations governing such actions.

The lawmakers’ decision to probe the withdrawal followed the unanimous adoption of a motion by an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker from Imo State, Chike Okafor at the House’s Tuesday plenary.

Okafor said that NHIS was set to make sure that every Nigerian had access to good healthcare services and to protect families from financial hardship of medical bills.

He then argued that the withdrawal of monies from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by any government agency should be on a request of the Chief Accounting Officer of the Agency.

He said, “A recent oversight inspection of the scheme by the Committee on Healthcare Services revealed that two suspicious withdrawals of N5 billion each, totaling N10 billion, were made from the ‘Insured Persons’ Funds account.

“These were made on the account with the Central Bank of Nigeria on December 28, 2016, and January 11, 2018, respectively. This was when the Executive Secretary of the Scheme was still under suspension.

“Upon inquiry, the Executive Secretary informed the committee that neither him, nor any staff of the scheme made any request for either of the two withdrawals.

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“The committee was informed that the withdrawals were authorised by the Minister of Finance without the input of the NHIS and that is in contravention of the laws and regulations governing such actions.”

According to him, if nothing is done to check such action it would not only erode public and international confidence in the scheme but will also ridicule the anti-corruption stance of the current government.

After contributions from other lawmakers, the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the committees on Healthcare Services and Finance and Anti-Corruption to investigate the alleged withdrawal and to report back within four weeks.

 

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