By Ajuma Edwina Ogiri Abuja–
Th e Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said the embattled Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, has been indicted in the report of the ministerial investigative panel, saying his suspension would continue.
Th e extension of the ES is coming amidst concerns over the N19milliion allowance paid to a 21-member member probe committee while the sitting lasted.
Yusuf was suspended by Prof. Adewole on July 6, 2017, for three months, and a committee was constituted to investigate series of fraud allegation levelled against him.
Th e allegation bothered on “procurement of a N58 million SUV”, and “corrupt expenditure of N292million” on health care training “without recourse to any appropriate approving authority.
” In a memo with reference number HMH/ABJ/032/Vol. XII/29, dated October 5, 2017, the minister informed the embattled NHIS boss that his suspension, which began in July, would continue until the President acted on the report, adding that since the report had indicted Yusuf, there was no need for him to return to office.
“Th e committee has since submitted its report which I have forwarded to his Excellency, Mr. President, for further action,” the minister stated in the memo, adding, “I am further extending your suspension from the office pending the decision of Mr. President on the report.
” N19m allowance for c’ttee Besides, there are allegations that the ministerial investigative committee set up to probe the Executive Secretary of the Scheme, was paid N19 million from NHIS as sitting allowance, for the three weeks sitting.
Analysis of offi cial documents obtained by Blueprint revealed that 21 members of the committee were paid N19, 184,000 from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the NHIS on September 14, 2017.
Th e payment details in the document showed that the immediate past Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Hajiya Binta Adamu Bello, who was the chairperson of the committee, was paid N1,280,000, and each of the 13 directors on the committee was paid N960,000, while the four assistant directors received N640,000 each.
No comment for now – NHIS When contacted, NHIS spokesperson, Ayo Osinlu, said: “I can’t really comment because I don’t work in the account department.
So I can’t verify if the allegation is true or not.
“However, I am trying to get information from the accounts department to back up the authenticity or otherwise of the allegation.
” Eff ort to get the reaction of spokesperson of the supervising ministry, Mrs Boade Akinola, were unsuccessful, as she neither responded to a phone call put across to her, nor replied a text message sent by Blueprint.
However, in her earlier response to a national daily on the same allegation, Akinola said: “the committee is going to recover N991 million.
Th ey sat for 30 days and the membership was drawn from various places; not the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) alone.
Th e committee members were paid their entitlement and this shouldn’t be a big deal.
Th e FMOH couldn’t have paid it because it was not budgeted for, hence NHIS had to pay.