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NHIS: EFCC Concludes Alleged N900m Fraud Investigation

 

By Catherine Agbo

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have completed investigations into the alleged case of misappropriation of funds amounting to N919m against the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf and submitted a report to the Presidency, DAILY ASSET has gathered.

According to sources in the Commission, the report heavily indicted the executive secretary who has remained in office despite ongoing investigation against him.

Apart from Yusuf, some senior staff of the Agency were also indicted, sources informed DAILY ASSET. The fate of the indicted persons will be known as soon as the Presidency acts on the report.

When contacted by our correspondent, the spokesperson of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren however said the Commission was yet to complete investigation, more than six months after it commenced the assignment.

When prodded on why the investigation had yet to be completed and when it would be completed, Uwujaren said there were a lot of angles to be cleared and he was not in a position to give a time frame during which the investigation would be completed.

It would be recalled that in December 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission begun investigations into allegations of misappropriation of funds and abuse of office levelled against Yusuf.

Despite the investigation, which started five months after Yusuf’s suspension, he was recalled in February 2018. In a letter with reference number, ‘SH/COS/10/6/A/29’, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the President informed the minister of Yusuf’s recall, adding that he (Yusuf) had been “admonished to work harmoniously” with the minister.

This followed the submission of the report of a panel on the allegations against Yusuf to the Presidency, by the Ministry of Health. In its report, the panel accused the suspended NHIS boss of N919m fraud.

In a letter dated December 21, 2017, addressed to then acting executive secretary of the NHIS, titled ‘Investigation into activities of Prof. Usman Yusuf –suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme’ the anti-graft agency said it was investigating allegations of fraud and misappropriation against Yusuf, committed between July, 2016 and July, 2017.

 

In the letter, with reference number CR: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/CTGI.2/VOL.15/ 237, and signed by its Director of Operations, Umar Abba, for the Acting Chairman, the EFCC said it required information on, “All necessary documents relating to local and international training programmes sponsored by the scheme from July 2016 to July 2017.”

The anti-graft agency said it was making the requests “pursuant to Section 38 (1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.”

The letter further read: “All documents relating to payment made to Katamaya First Call Hospital.

“All procurement documents relating to the e-library project of the NHIS. Documents relating to all NHIS-sponsored foreign trips embarked upon by the suspended executive secretary.

“All payments relating to the fuelling of the suspended secretary’s official vehicles. Disbursement of NEED assessment funds between July 2016 and July 2017.”

The commission also requested documents relating to the audit verification conducted during the tenure of the suspended executive secretary and also requested the NHIS to confirm if four other persons – Nasir Shinkafi, Shuab Mohammed, Suleiman Ilu and Yusuf Abdullahi – it mentioned in the letter, were members of staff of the scheme and their current status.

Similarly, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) in a letter dated December 11, 2017, and addressed to then acting executive secretary of the NHIS, said it was investigating the suspended executive secretary and four other officials of the NHIS.

According to the ICPC, the officers were being investigated for “alleged violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Act 2000.”

“Pursuant to Section 45(3) of the cited Act, you are hereby directed to recover the money advanced to the five officers (of the NHIS) and two staff from the Ministry of Health for the aborted trip to the Netherlands.

“You are further required to furnish the commission with the evidence of compliance by each of the beneficiaries,” the letter read in part.

Recall also that the EFCC said it had investigated some managers and invited some contractors of the NHIS for questioning, over their respective roles in the N919m fraud, as well as some officials alleged to have taken bribes from contractors.

A report by the panel set up by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had alleged that a contractor, GK Kanki Foundation, was directed by one of the managers at the NHIS to pay N2.8m into a Skye Bank account with number 1040569204 belonging to one Magaji Garba.

The report also indicted the General Manager, Human Resources, Uwais Fatika; the General Manager, Finance, Mr. John Okoh; the General Manager in charge of Procurement; an employee of the Bureau of Public Procurement, Mr. Naziru Umar; and several other companies.

 

 

 

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