Corruption in High Places: Fresh Scandal Over Unauthorized Withdrawal Of N10 billion in NHIS

Professor Yusuf Usman, recently reinstated as Executive Secretary (ES) of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), is suspected to have been involved in the unauthorized withdrawal of N10billion from the funds contributed by enrollees in the scheme. According to documents obtained by the source, the funds, kept in the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA), were withdrawn in two installments. The funds are made up of the 10 percent medical allowance due to federal civil servants.

The deductions were stopped in 2006, with the funds handed over to the NHIS to use in providing health insurance coverage to federal civil servants.

Documents obtained by the source showed that the first withdrawal of N5billion was made on December 28 2016, a few months after Professor Usman assumed office as Executive Secretary. Sources in the NHIS said he made out as though he was ready to get the withdrawal reversed, but ended up not doing so.

The second withdrawal, also of N5 billion, was made on January 28 2018. Sources alleged that the second withdrawal had the imprimatur of cabal around President Muhammadu Buhari, abetted by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Last December, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the reinstatement to office of Professor Usman despite his indictment by a ministerial investigative panel for a welter of corruption allegations and subsequent suspension from as approved by Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, who was acting President when President Buhari was hospitalized in the UK.

Sources reckoned that Professor Usman was reinstated purposely because he is needed to conceal the illegal withdrawals and shield members of the cabal around the President. According to the sources, Mr. Attahiru, who functioned as ES, NHIS, when Professor Usman was suspended, questioned the propriety of the withdrawals and requested to know who authorized them. This, they said, was the reason for which Professor Usman was brought back in controversial circumstances on February 7th 2017 to cover up the unprecedented withdrawal.

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