The Senate has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the activities of the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf, over N860million fraud in the Scheme.
This followed a motion by Kabir Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central), who accused the Executive Secretary of carrying out ‘scandalous activities’ in the agency since his appointment.
Yusuf was appointed in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Marafa who chairs the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, therefore asked the legislative chamber to quickly come to the rescue of NHIS from “the grip of the newly appointed Executive Secretary”.
The ad-hoc committee, announced by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, is chaired by Senate Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan. Other members include Lanre Tejuoso, Bassey Akpan, Kabir Marafa and Ahmed Ogembe.
In his motion titled: “Averting the looming crises and monumental corruption in Nigeria’s Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS): A time for action,” Marafa accused the Executive Secretary of spending above the threshold of N2.5million without recourse to the Board or his supervising ministry.
While accusing the NHIS boss of unilaterally recruiting 15 staff into the agency, the senator said the ‘corrupt and scandalous’ activities of the Executive Secretary, if left unchecked, could affect the smooth running of the agency.
This, he argued, would have grave consequences on the nation’s health insurance as well as President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against corruption.
“The Senate aware of the corrupt expenditure of N292 Million singlehandedly incurred by the Executive Secretary for Health Care Financing Training without recourse to any appropriate approving authority;
“Aware also of the illegal expenditure of N118 million by the Executive Secretary for training of staff without reference to any approving authority;
“Aware also of another scandalous expenditure of N400 Million spent, purportedly, for training in the month of October 2016;
“Aware also that despite presidential orders banning promotional items and souvenirs, the Executive Secretary still went ahead to expend N50 million for such promotional items, such as, T-shirts and Face caps”, Marafa submitted.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, however sues for caution on the matter requesting his colleagues to give the Executive Secretary fair hearing.