Group makes fresh call on NHIS boss to step down over corruption allegations
ABUJA – The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria has made fresh call on the Executive-Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf to step aside from the scheme over alleged fresh allegations of corruption and abuse of office against him.
At a media briefing in Abuja on Monday, the group said despite all the past scandals against the ES, which resulted in his suspension by Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole in 2017, the scheme has continued to record more illicit transactions and other activities under his watch.
Prof. Yusuf alleged misdeeds include illegal award of contracts, persistent refusal to heed advice by the Board of the scheme, boasting that he has the backing of presidency for whatever he chooses to do at the scheme, unauthorized allocation of scheme’s funds for personal use, conversion of scheme’s property for his use at home among others.
“On his recall from suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari, the association registered its reservation in respect of his reinstatement and demanded that the ongoing investigation should be allowed to run its full course and the outcome made public “in view of the glaring gross misconduct of the ES. The association further advised against any act of vendetta and witch-hunt against its members by the ES upon his reinstatement to office.
“However, since his recall to office, the ES has embarked on activities capable of jeopardizing industrial peace and harmony in the scheme as well as causing division among staff along ethnic, tribal and religious lines, possibly in an attempt to cover up all his dirty tracks in the area of maladministration, incompetence and corruption,” the group said through its Head of Abuja Secretariat, Isaac Ojemhenke.
A document obtained by this medium revealed that an anti-corruption group, United Youths Alliance Against Corruption had variously written the Bureau of Public Procurement to investigate the activities of the ES.
Dissatisfied with the failure of BPP to investigate Yusuf, the group, through its National Coordinator, Solomon Agbo, threatened to sue the BPP and request the court to compel BPP to investigate the ES.
Part of the document obtained by this medium reads: “We have observed, with dismay, the activities of the Executive Secretary (ES) of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf since he assumed office at the Scheme, he was suspended from office sometime in 2017 on allegations bordering on financial impropriety or indiscretion. However, he was given another opportunity by Mr. President. Rather than make amend and use the second opportunity to properly serve the public and by extension, humanity, he has continued to take actions that clearly breach his oath of office an in contravention of extant laws and various rules regulating activities in public office.
He has taken steps or authorized the taking of steps to procure services in total violation of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and the Public Procurement Manual (PPM)”
The ES was accused to have awarded a media consultancy contract to Kubekh Nigeria Ltd to the tune of N43 million.
The company, according to the document, is owned by elder brother of prof. Usman. Besides, the ES had allegedly illegally recruited the son of the contract’s beneficiary and other 14 persons, into the scheme in 2016. The beneficiary’s son, who allegedly acts as Director of Lubekh while also “strategically positioned at the procurement unit” of the NHIS.
“The Executive Secretary awarded contracts to Lubekh Nigeria Limited for consultancy for media and special public relations for NHIS at contract sum of N43 million. The company was found and confirmed to be owned majorly by Alh. Kabir Yusuf Yar’Adua, the elder brother of the Executive Secretary…The evaluation of the submissions by respondents to this lot was done by Hassan Kabiru Yar’Adua, the son of the owner of the company, Alh, Kabir Yusuf Yar, Adua. This action amounts to fraudulent practice and conflict of interest contrary to Section 57 (12) (b) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007,” the document read further.
Apart from the media contract, the ES was said to have also awarded N17.5 million to Lubekh Ltd for training and communication strategies.
“The procurement department was not involved in the engagement of the consultant. The company does not have the competence to execute the project. This is evident from the report of the search from CAC on the company. The main object of the company is (1) to carry on the business as food processors; and (2) to carry on the business of building and construction.
Prof. Usman has also allegedly allocated the scheme’s fund to procure legal services from external solicitors, according to the association.
Efforts to reach Head of the Media and Public Relations Unit of the NHIS, Ayo Osinlu, proved abortive, as his telephone numbers known to this medium were switched off.