Headlines News

FG: NHIS boss’ reinstatement won’t stop his probe, PDP seek prosecution

The Federal Government has said that the reinstatement of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, will not hinder probe against him.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this on Wednesday while fielding question from State House Correspondents on the propriety behind Yusuf’s reinstatement in spite of being under probe.

President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the recall of the ES who was suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, in June 2017, following allegations of of N919million fraud and gross misconduct.

A panel put in place by the minister after Yusuf’s suspension later found him culpable of infractions ranging from nepotism to theft of public funds.
Adewole confirmed to an online medium, The Premium Times that he got the reinstatement letter on Tuesday evening.

“It is true that the president has reinstated him,” the online medium quoted Adewole as saying this while speaking on Yusuf’s reinstatement.

The reinstatement letter urged Yusuf to work closely with the minister upon resumption.

But the minister of information told newsmen at the end of the five-hour Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, that he was not aware that Yusuf was being investigated by the EFCC over any allegation of fraud.

He added that Yusuf’s reinstatement would not stop any probe being carried out against him.
He said, “I am not aware that the EFCC is investigating the recently reinstated Executive Secretary of NHIS but if that is the case, I don’t think his reinstatement is a bar to any investigation.”

When asked why he claimed not to be aware that the NHIS ES is under investigation, he said, “I didn’t say I’m not aware of his investigation, I said EFCC. I was precise I said I am not aware that the EFCC is investigating him and that if it is true, that the fact that he has been reinstated does not mean a stop to it. That is what I said. I am not saying I’m not aware that he was suspended or any investigation is going on. The fact that he has been reinstated does not mean that the EFCC will not continue with its investigation, that is what I said.”

Earlier, before the commencement of the council meeting, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was seen discussing with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu, Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in what seemed to be connected with the reinstatement of Yusuf.

Adewole was seen gesticulating and making his points while Osinbajo and other ministers listened attentively.
Unlike the altercation between the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, in Council Chambers over the leaked memo exonerating herself from the reinstatement of the embattled former Chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the service, the discussion was civil but showed that Osinbajo was seeking clarification.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as shocking, scandalous and a mockery of Justice, the reinstatement of Yusuf by President Buhari while he was still being quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged N919 million fraud.

The party also mocked the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Federal Government for the cover up of the cabinet minister reported to have bought a property worth N280 million in Abuja from alleged corrupt enrichment.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in statement on Wednesday said the Presidency stinks of corruption and has lost all claim of fighting graft, as long as it continues to protect indicted officials of the APC administration.

The party said it was disgusting that the same Presidency brandishing a medal of ‘African Union Anti-Corruption Champion’ would short-circuit the processes, arm-twist anti-graft agencies and pull out an indicted government official, while he was still guest at the EFCC where he was being grilled for his alleged maleficence.

He said, “This is a government official probed and thoroughly indicted for abuse of office and fraud to the tune of N919 million by a committee set up by the Minister of Health, comprising senior officials of the Ministry of Health Department of State Services, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) while the report was submitted to the President last September.

“The report detailed Yusuf as a public servant who “portrayed a holier than thou attitude but at the background, milked the agency dry” by ganging up with other fraudulent elements to fleece the NHIS to the tune of over N919 million through fraudulent procurements, while name-dropping on the President.

“Instead of allowing for the conclusion of investigation and eventual prosecution by EFCC, the Presidency halted the process and rewarded the indicted official with a recall from suspension, even without any recourse to the supervising minister simply because Prof. Yusuf is not only of the APC but also known to be very close to the President.

“The only way the Presidency can redeem itself from this particular scandal is to immediately return Prof. Yusuf to the EFCC and allow the law to take it course if it is actually fighting corruption in Nigeria.

“In the same vein, we challenge the Presidency to immediately name the minister indicted for corrupt enrichment and bring him out for investigation and prosecution in line with the law,” the party further said.

The PDP therefore invited Nigerians and the international community to continue to note the insincerity and deception of the APC government especially as the nation approaches the 2019 general elections.

About the author

Ihesiulo Grace

Leave a Comment