SAN FRANCISCO, February 07, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari has recalled the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, who was suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on July 6, 2017 following allegations of gross misconduct.
His reinstatement was contained in a letter with reference number, ‘SH/COS/10/6/A/29’, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, which informed the Minister of Yusuf’s recall, adding that Yusuf had been “admonished to work harmoniously with the Minister.”
A panel inaugurated by the Minister after Yusuf’s suspension later found him culpable of infractions that ranged from nepotism to theft of public funds.
The panel described Yusuf as a public servant who “portrayed a holier than thou attitude but at the background, milked the agency dry” by conniving with others to perpetrate fraud to the tune of over N919m.
According to the panel, the N919m was dubiously given as payment to consultants for staff training adding that as the head of the agency, Yusuf was personally responsible for all administrative, procurement and financial lapses.
“His (Yusuf’s) deceitful attitude coupled with ‘name dropping’ of Mr. President as having sent him to sanitise the NHIS but he caused more harm than good to the scheme,” it stated.
The Committee, therefore, recommended that the EFCC probe the agency for diversion of funds and contravention of the Procurement Act of 2007 through nepotism and other irregular award of contracts and should be sanctioned in line with the provision of the Act.
Adewole, in a letter to the embattled NHIS chief, dated October 5, 2017, indicated that the Committee that investigated Yusuf had submitted its report revealing that the report had been forwarded to the President for further action.
However, the House of Representatives had demanded Yusuf’s reinstatement shortly after he was suspended, saying the Minister was wrong and absolved the NHIS boss of any wrongdoing.
Yusuf, 54, took over the state-run health insurance provider on July 29, 2016, had also replied the Minister that he would not obey the suspension, saying the Minister had no powers to suspend him.
But the suspension came weeks after the Senate launched investigations into his activities as the NHIS chief as he was accused of “corrupt expenditure of N292 million” which he allegedly spent on health care training “without recourse to any appropriate approving authority.”
But in the letter from the Presidency, which was sent to the Minister on Tuesday evening, the President made no reference to the allegations but simply informed the Minister of Yusuf’s reinstatement.
Incidentally, Yusuf was being grilled by the men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday when his letter of reinstatement was sent to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Yusuf, who is being probed by the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, is being investigated for perpetrating fraud to the tune of N919m