Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of N10b from NHIS fund

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Members of the House of Representatives during the plenary on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. PHOTO: TWITTER/HOUSE OF REPS NGR

• Lift suspension on Jibrin

The House of Representatives yesterday, resolved to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of N10 billion from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) fund.The monies were domiciled in the Federal Government Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The House while adopting a motion sponsored by the chairman of the House committee on Healthcare services, Mr. Chike Okafor (Imo-APC) at plenary presided by Speaker Yakubu Dogara summoned the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, to offer explanations over the issue.

The House committees on Healthcare services, Finance and Anti-Corruption have been mandated to probe into the issue and turn in its report within four weeks.Leading the debate on the issue, Okafor claimed that during a recent oversight inspection of the NHIS by his committee, it was discovered that there were two suspicious withdrawals of N5 billion each from the “Insured Persons” funds account with the CBN on December 28, 2016 and January 11, 2018 respectively when the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Professor Usman Yusuf was under suspension.

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Okafor who claimed that neither Yusuf nor any staff of the agency authorised the two withdrawals, alleged that the withdrawal of the monies were authorised by Adeosun in contravention of the laws and regulations governing the action.He maintained that if such practices were not checked, it would erode public and international confidence in the NHIS scheme and make a mockery of the on -going anti -graft stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

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The issue drew the ire of lawmakers. Edward Pwajok (PDP, Plateau), insisted on the issuance of a summon to Adeosun to explain why she authorised the withdrawal of the monies.
Oghene Emma Egoh (PDP, Lagos) said it was incumbent on the House to defend the interest of Nigerians, adding that those found wanting on the issue must be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate prosecution.

Mohammed Sani Abdu (APC, Bauchi) who expressed surprise over the withdrawal of such monies said there was need to take a second look at the TSA account and address the inherent defects in the implementation of the executive order.

However, Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) and Daniel Ofongo (PDP, Bayelsa) stressed the need to hear from Adeosun on what must have informed the decision to authorise the withdrawal of such monies meant to ensure that Nigerians have access to good healthcare services.Also yesterday, the House recalled Abdulmumin Jibrin who was suspended due to his allegation on 2016 budget padding.

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The speaker read an apology letter written to the house by Abudulmumin Jubrin and immediately informed that the lawmaker has met all conditions required for him to be admitted back to the house.The Speaker noted that he can resume his legislative mandate after meeting with necessary requirements, adding that he is free to resume at his own time as his legislative days of suspension have lapsed.The Chief whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado Doguwa applauded the decision made by the house to recall Jibrin.

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