Reps Order Recall Of Suspended NHIS Boss, Summon Health Minister

Reps Order Recall Of Suspended NHIS Boss, Summon Health Minister

Reps Order Recall Of Suspended NHIS Boss, Summon Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, was on Wednesday accused of corruption by the House of Representatives over his roles in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) scandal.

This follows a motion by the chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Chike Okafor.

The minister had also directed the setting up of an investigative committee to look into the various allegations in accordance with the Public Service Rules, saying the suspension was also to allow for uninterrupted investigation.

According to him, the suspended NHIS Executive Secretary took steps to visit the Chief Medical Directors of affected tertiary hospitals to verify the veracity of the projects which the Ministry requested for the sum of N197,072,500.

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According to Premium Times, the Senate had earlier launched an investigation into Yusuf's administration, accusing him of "corrupt expenditure of N292m" which he allegedly spent on health care training "without recourse to any appropriate approving authority".

Members of the House were of the opinion that the minister, who was a President appointee, has no power to suspend another appointee of the President.

The lawmakers who queried the legality or otherwise of the suspension imposed on the NHIS Executive Secretary, alleged that the Minister who was not suspended by the President despite series of documentary petitions against him, has no moral justification to suspend the NHIS boss for 90 days.

In the two petitions sighted by Saturday Vanguard, the two groups had called on the Acting President to cause the EFCC and the ICPC to investigate the high level of corruption and nepotism promoted by Prof Yusuf in the NHIS, which had caused the Federal Government billions of Naira and stifled the growth of health insurance as a result.

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He further said that Section 47 of the NHIS Act empowers the minister to merely give directives of a general nature to the Governing Council of the NHIS and such directives do not include discipline, suspension or removal of the NHIS boss.

"The Minister wrote to the Executive Secretary through the Permanent Secretary, Binta Adamu Bello, Ref".

"The letter also directed Yusuf to pay the money to the ministry's Account Number: 0020155061015 in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), even when there was no budgetary provisions for the payment in the NHIS's 2016 budget". He, particularly decried the corruption being perpetrated by the HMOs, which he likened to the fraud in the fuel subsidy scheme, stressing that they are padding figures of enrollees so they could get paid.

As millions of Nigerians remain excluded from the NHIS, many wonder when this crisis will be resolved so that the scheme can receive the drastic internal rejig it had long required in order to effectively coordinate the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), improve plans on offer, and broaden coverage, thereby ultimately fulfilling its mandate.

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