NHIS: Reps accuse minister of corruption

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OUR recuperating but no-nonsense president, Muhammadu Buhari, will certainly not tolerate the impudence displayed by Professor Usman Yusuf, who has challenged the authority of the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, to suspend him from office.

The lawmakers alleged that the refusal of the suspended NHIS chief to accommodate several demands like the payment of N197.073 million and $37,383 for trip to a World Health Organization (WHO) conference, and his unearthing of fraudulent activities of the HMOs led to his suspension.

For months now, the NHIS has been enmeshed in a multi-dimensional crisis set off by allegations of N860m procurement fraud and other breaches of procedure involving the Executive Secretary, Prof Usman Yusuf.

Yusuf disclosed this in a letter written on Wednesday, July 12, saying he would not comply with the order.

"Except removed from office by the president under circumstances specified in the NHIS Act, my appointment is for a period of five years subject to further term of the same period at the discretion of the president".

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The Nigerian House of Representatives has ordered health minister Isaac Adewole to reverse the suspension of Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf, within a week.

Usman, therefore added that "the directive in your letter under reference can not find comfort under the said section of Presidential mandate".

However, the NHIS boss fired back at the Minister in a daring tone, pointedly telling him to his face that he could not proceed on the suspension as the minister lacks the power to sanction him. "The mere fact that there are pending petitions against a public officer which have yet to be substantiated does not constitute grounds for suspension".

There is also emerging report that the committee investigating Yusuf has received more petitions against him.

"In the light of the above, I wish to humbly urge that the Honourable Minister should allow the investigations of these petitions to follow due process", he said.

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