The Senate Tuesday commenced investigation into alleged illegal recruitment and lopsided appointments of some management staff of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The probe also covers NHIS expenditure on trainings and travels.
Management staff of the scheme led by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Usman Yusuf, appeared before the Senate Committee on Health yesterday to answer question bordering on alleged illegal recruitment, lopsided appointments and expenditure on training and travels.
Yusuf told the committee that the new recruits were on “secondment” and not on appointment.
Asked if the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was present at the hearing, was aware of the “secondments” in the NHIS, the Executive Secretary answered in the negative.
He said, “No, he (Adewole) is not aware.”
The committee queried the NHIS boss why he spent N150 million on trainings and travels between January and June 2016, while the amount spent for the same purposes between July, August and September was between N2 million and N4 million, and the sum of N412 million was spent for the same purposes in October alone.
The committee noted that it received a petition against the NHIS in which the petitioner claimed that while the number of general managers of NHIS was raised from 23 to 25, their appointments were not in line with the Federal Character principle.
The panelists however declined to disclose the name of the petitioner as well as to provide
a copy of the petition to Yusuf.
The committee said that the petitioner claimed that the North-Central geopolitical zone, which had three representatives, now had five.
The petitioner was also said to have claimed that the North-East, which had three, now has
four while the North-West was raised from six to nine; South-East remained three; South-South dropped from four to three; while South-West reduced from four to one.
Yusuf insisted that, “It will be for the sake of fair hearing that I get a copy of the petition before I respond (to the allegation). I am not aware of any petition and I can only respond to the petition that I can see and read. I need to know what is in the petition and where the petition is coming from.”
Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuoso, said that Yusuf should be able to state if the figures were correct or not even without seeing the petition or knowing it came from.
The Executive Secretary insisted on seeing the petition before confirming or refuting the allegations.
He said, “I need fair hearing; I need to see a copy of that petition.”
The committee declined to grant the request for the NHIS boss to see a copy of the petition before responding to the allegations
The committee said that since the allegations were against the NHIS and the person of Yusuf, they were not obliged to give out a copy of the petition to the Executive Secretary.
A member of the committee, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, noted the committee would confirm the allegations after going through the nominal roll of the NHIS.
The committee said that the NHIS boss failed to provide its nominal roll, which was the first information it requested from the scheme.
Members of the committee expressed displeasure with the management of NHIS for its
failure to provide all the information requested from it.
The committee resolved that the leadership of the scheme would reappear before
the panel to verify the claims by the petitioner.
The NHIS told the committee that the requested information would be provided on Monday next week.