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NHIS Crisis: Executive Secretary knows Faith as Board Meets This Week
Date Posted: 16/Oct/2018

 

The Chairman and the Board of Council of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will meet this week over the various allegations of fraud, maladministration, and irregularities levied against the Executive Secretary of the scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, by the workers and their unions.
 
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has demanded immediate removal of Prof. Yusuf as the head of the scheme; and called on the government to ask him to step aside.
 
The association also called on relevant authorities to look into the irregularities being perpetrated by the Executive Secretary. Besides, the association has petitioned the Board of Council of NHIS on the allegations and urged the Board to take a drastic step to save the scheme from imminent total collapse.
 
“In view of the foregoing, the association is demanding that government should do the needful as regards the case of prof. Usman Yusuf. He needs to be asked to step aside in order to serve as deterrent to others;” the Secretary, ASCSN FCT, Comrade Isaac Ojemhenke, who spoke on behalf of the Association President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama; said while addressing a press conference in Abuja.
 
Ojemhenke, who spoke  on; “the position of the ASCSN on the recent activities of the recalled Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf;” added that this is very necessary in order to avoid sending the wrong signal in respect of the anti-corruption war of the present administration.
 
Apart from the petition sent to the Board by the ASCSN, Nigerian Tribune gathered that the Board had earlier queried the Executive Secretary, but failed to respond to the query.
 
The Chairperson, NHIS Board, Enenyantu Ifenne, told Nigerian Tribune that the Board had actually received the petition of the ASCSN, against the Executive Secretary; and would be meeting this week to look at it critically and take action on it.
 
Ifenne, who said she would not want to pre-empt the the outcome of the Board and the decision to be taken, did not comment on the earlier queried issued to the Executive Secretary.
 
When asked about the query and allegations by the workers, the NHIS Board Chairperson said: “That is a very generic question, it is very wide. If I have to be specific about what you said. Let us put it this way. The union has sent us petition. They held a press conference and they sent us petition in line with the press conference and what the Board is going to do is that we are going to look at that petition. The board is going to meet next week (this week) and we are going to look into those things. That is all I can say now.
 
“I hope you don’t mind, that is all I can to say. I don’t want to pre-empt what the Board thinks about those allegations or whatever.”
 
The ASCSN alleged that the Executive Seceretary is involved in various financial irregularities which are dangerous to the scheme.
 
In 2016, Prof. Yusuf was suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to allow for full investigation into the allegations of corruption, nepotism and abuse of office including illegal/irregular secondment of 15 persons into the NHIS, which was leveled against him.
 
But the Executive Secretary was recalled by President Muhammadu Buhari, the development which the union and workers vehemently protested against.
 
Ojemhenke said: “Since his recall to office, the ES has embarked on activities capable of jeopardizing industrial peace and harmony in the  Scheme as well as causing division among the staff along ethnic, tribal and religious lines, possibly in an attempt to cover up all his dirty tracks in the area of maladministration, incompetence and corruption.”
 
The association also said that the Executive Secretary breaches due process in the award of contracts, employments and procurement.
 
He said: “The ES had equally engaged in corrupt nepotism in November, 2016 by fraudulently awarding to Lubekh Nigeria Limited a contract for training of NHIS staff on capacity building on communication strategy in public service delivery at the cost of N17,500,000.00 (Seventeen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) which took place in Benin City, Edo State.”
 
The association said the company, Lubekh Nigeria Limited, from their enquiry at the Corporate Affairs Commission belong to his relations and was only registered to carry out the business of food/meat processor, building and construction work and not media and public relations consultancy.
 
According to him, this is a gross abuse of Office, Official Trust and evident violation of Section 57(12) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 which states that ‘a conflict of interest exists where a person possess a direct or service provider that is inherently unethical or that may be implied or construed to be or make possible person gain due to person’s ability to influence dealing.”
 
Another allegation against the Executive Secretary, according to him is his diversion of NHIS Property to his house, in the name of setting up home office’
 
“Before his suspension in August, 2016, Professor Usman Yusuf has moved several items/asset of the scheme to his residence in the name of setting up home office. This is totally strange in the public service and it is an outright abuse of office. No public service rules/regulations allow for setting up or maintaining of home office by public officers.
 
“Apart from violating public service rules and financial regulations, there is no proper record of items and assets so far moved by Professor Usman Yusuf to his house under the guise of setting up home office. It is on record that just in August, 2018, four security fire proof safes were procured and moved to his personal house under this funny arrangement”, Ojemhenke said.
 
Also, the association pointed out that the NHIS boss, on his recall from suspension, paid himself N3, 600,000.00 (three million, six hundred thousand naira) allegedly used by him to fuel seven (7) vehicles “he greedily attached to himself and as reimbursement for purchase of newspapers while he was on suspension.
 
“It must be on record that this money he paid to himself while he was not engaged in any official duty is unacceptable in public service. This is a clear case of financial recklessness, abuse of office, breach of financial regulations and stealing and must be refunded with interest”, he stressed.
 
The Senior Civil Servants also pointed out that Professor Yusuf also engaged in the allocation of various sums of money to himself.
 
He said: “Allocation of an unprecedented seven official vehicles to himself and payment of monthly allowance of whooping sum of N500, 000.00 (five hundred thousand Naira) for fueling the vehicles. Also he has seven(7) policemen attached to himself at a monthly expense of N565, 000.00 (five hundred and sixty five thousand Naira). All attempts by the council (Board) to make him tow the line of financial discipline and prudence in the face of dwindling resources of the scheme has been resisted by him claiming that it is within his rights to allocate any number of vehicles and policemen to himself notwithstanding monetization policy of the government”.
 
Ojemhenke also confirmed that the Board has indeed queried the Executive Secretary but he has failed to respond to the query. The association therefore called on the government to urge Prof. Yusuf to step aside and rescue the NHIS.
 
A member of the Board of the NHIS, who spoke anonymously, confirmed the allegations while NHIS Head of media, Mr. Odoh Onuh did not pick several calls made to him. The Executive Secretary and his media team have kept mute on the allegations.
 
By: Soji-Eze Fagbemi
Tribune News
The Chairman and the Board of Council of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will meet this week over the various allegations of fraud, maladministration, and irregularities levied against the Executive Secretary of the scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, by the workers and their unions.
 
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has demanded immediate removal of Prof. Yusuf as the head of the scheme; and called on the government to ask him to step aside.
 
The association also called on relevant authorities to look into the irregularities being perpetrated by the Executive Secretary. Besides, the association has petitioned the Board of Council of NHIS on the allegations and urged the Board to take a drastic step to save the scheme from imminent total collapse.
 
“In view of the foregoing, the association is demanding that government should do the needful as regards the case of prof. Usman Yusuf. He needs to be asked to step aside in order to serve as deterrent to others;” the Secretary, ASCSN FCT, Comrade Isaac Ojemhenke, who spoke on behalf of the Association President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama; said while addressing a press conference in Abuja.
 
Ojemhenke, who spoke  on; “the position of the ASCSN on the recent activities of the recalled Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf;” added that this is very necessary in order to avoid sending the wrong signal in respect of the anti-corruption war of the present administration.
 
Apart from the petition sent to the Board by the ASCSN, Nigerian Tribune gathered that the Board had earlier queried the Executive Secretary, but failed to respond to the query.
 
The Chairperson, NHIS Board, Enenyantu Ifenne, told Nigerian Tribune that the Board had actually received the petition of the ASCSN, against the Executive Secretary; and would be meeting this week to look at it critically and take action on it.
 
Ifenne, who said she would not want to pre-empt the the outcome of the Board and the decision to be taken, did not comment on the earlier queried issued to the Executive Secretary.
 
When asked about the query and allegations by the workers, the NHIS Board Chairperson said: “That is a very generic question, it is very wide. If I have to be specific about what you said. Let us put it this way. The union has sent us petition. They held a press conference and they sent us petition in line with the press conference and what the Board is going to do is that we are going to look at that petition. The board is going to meet next week (this week) and we are going to look into those things. That is all I can say now.
 
“I hope you don’t mind, that is all I can to say. I don’t want to pre-empt what the Board thinks about those allegations or whatever.”
 
The ASCSN alleged that the Executive Seceretary is involved in various financial irregularities which are dangerous to the scheme.
 
In 2016, Prof. Yusuf was suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to allow for full investigation into the allegations of corruption, nepotism and abuse of office including illegal/irregular secondment of 15 persons into the NHIS, which was leveled against him.
 
But the Executive Secretary was recalled by President Muhammadu Buhari, the development which the union and workers vehemently protested against.
 
Ojemhenke said: “Since his recall to office, the ES has embarked on activities capable of jeopardizing industrial peace and harmony in the  Scheme as well as causing division among the staff along ethnic, tribal and religious lines, possibly in an attempt to cover up all his dirty tracks in the area of maladministration, incompetence and corruption.”
 
The association also said that the Executive Secretary breaches due process in the award of contracts, employments and procurement.
 
He said: “The ES had equally engaged in corrupt nepotism in November, 2016 by fraudulently awarding to Lubekh Nigeria Limited a contract for training of NHIS staff on capacity building on communication strategy in public service delivery at the cost of N17,500,000.00 (Seventeen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) which took place in Benin City, Edo State.”
 
The association said the company, Lubekh Nigeria Limited, from their enquiry at the Corporate Affairs Commission belong to his relations and was only registered to carry out the business of food/meat processor, building and construction work and not media and public relations consultancy.
 
According to him, this is a gross abuse of Office, Official Trust and evident violation of Section 57(12) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 which states that ‘a conflict of interest exists where a person possess a direct or service provider that is inherently unethical or that may be implied or construed to be or make possible person gain due to person’s ability to influence dealing.”
 
Another allegation against the Executive Secretary, according to him is his diversion of NHIS Property to his house, in the name of setting up home office’
 
“Before his suspension in August, 2016, Professor Usman Yusuf has moved several items/asset of the scheme to his residence in the name of setting up home office. This is totally strange in the public service and it is an outright abuse of office. No public service rules/regulations allow for setting up or maintaining of home office by public officers.
 
“Apart from violating public service rules and financial regulations, there is no proper record of items and assets so far moved by Professor Usman Yusuf to his house under the guise of setting up home office. It is on record that just in August, 2018, four security fire proof safes were procured and moved to his personal house under this funny arrangement”, Ojemhenke said.
 
Also, the association pointed out that the NHIS boss, on his recall from suspension, paid himself N3, 600,000.00 (three million, six hundred thousand naira) allegedly used by him to fuel seven (7) vehicles “he greedily attached to himself and as reimbursement for purchase of newspapers while he was on suspension.
 
“It must be on record that this money he paid to himself while he was not engaged in any official duty is unacceptable in public service. This is a clear case of financial recklessness, abuse of office, breach of financial regulations and stealing and must be refunded with interest”, he stressed.
 
The Senior Civil Servants also pointed out that Professor Yusuf also engaged in the allocation of various sums of money to himself.
 
He said: “Allocation of an unprecedented seven official vehicles to himself and payment of monthly allowance of whooping sum of N500, 000.00 (five hundred thousand Naira) for fueling the vehicles. Also he has seven(7) policemen attached to himself at a monthly expense of N565, 000.00 (five hundred and sixty five thousand Naira). All attempts by the council (Board) to make him tow the line of financial discipline and prudence in the face of dwindling resources of the scheme has been resisted by him claiming that it is within his rights to allocate any number of vehicles and policemen to himself notwithstanding monetization policy of the government”.
 
Ojemhenke also confirmed that the Board has indeed queried the Executive Secretary but he has failed to respond to the query. The association therefore called on the government to urge Prof. Yusuf to step aside and rescue the NHIS.
 
A member of the Board of the NHIS, who spoke anonymously, confirmed the allegations while NHIS Head of media, Mr. Odoh Onuh did not pick several calls made to him. The Executive Secretary and his media team have kept mute on the allegations.
 
By: Soji-Eze Fagbemi
Tribune News

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