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EXPOSED: National Health Insurance Scheme Awards N66million Shady Contracts To Staff, Spends N32million On Non-Enrollees

There was improper award of local procurement to members of staff under Yusuf.

The authorities of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) disbursed N32 million in financial aid to individuals not enrolled on the scheme in contravention of its statutory responsibility, SaharaReporters has learnt. 

According to the government’s audit report obtained by SaharaReporters, the NHIS made the disbursement of N32,299,700 to persons outside the scheme in 2018, then under the administration of embattled Executive Secretary, Prof Usman Yusuf.

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The Annual Report of the Auditor-General of the Federation for the Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria for the Year ended, December 31, 2018, also indicted Yusuf as awarding contracts worth N66 million to workers instead of competent contractors through public bidding.

The report mandated the Executive Secretary to recover the monies misspent and return them to the coffers of the Nigerian Government.

Yusuf, an Ahmadu Bello University professor, was appointed in August 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari but his tenure was marred by infractions and improper policies at the scheme, first leading to his suspension in 2018 and to his removal in October 2019.

Prof Mohammed Sambo is the current NHIS Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer.

The 2018 Audit report partly reads, “Irregular Payment of Financial Medical Assistance on Non-enrollees – N32,299,700; Audit observed that the sum of N32,299,700 was spent as “financial medical assistance” on individuals who have not been enrolled into the scheme (NHIS).

“Risk – The entity may be assisting the non-enrollees to the detriment of the enrollees. Also, the Entity may be jeopardising the purpose of the scheme as all citizens are expected to enrol on the scheme.

“This anomaly further exposes the weakness in the Scheme’s internal control system that has resulted in mismanagement of public funds. The Executive Secretary is required to recover and pay the sum of N32,299,700 into the NHIS Fund, failing of which sanctions should apply.”

Also, the report stated that there was improper award of local procurement to members of staff under Yusuf.

“Audit observed that some members of staff were granted amounts above N200,000 only for procurement of goods and services totalling the sum of N66,798,948.12 only, instead of making the procurement through the award of contracts.

“The above anomaly is the failure of the Accounting Officer to adhere strictly to the procurement Act and other extant circulars. The Management should provide a detailed explanation for disbursing public funds directly to procure goods and services instead of through contract awards while accounting for the sum of N66,798,948.12 irregularly spent,” the report stated.