The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has accused the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf of financial recklessness, abuse of office and corruption and called on the federal government to quickly investigate the agency with a view to bringing the culprits to justice.
The association made the allegations in Abuja on Monday while addressing a press conference.
Speaking, secretariat of the association Mr. Isaac Ojemhenke disclosed that the NHIS executive secretary had initiated clandestine activities which are contrary to the civil service regulations and procedures.
Mr. Ojemhenke listed among others the award of contracts to phony companies, corrupt nepotism, victimization, violation of public service rules and financial regulations, theft, wicked witch hunt of staff along ethnic, tribal and religious lines and embarking on activities capable of jeopardizing industrial peace and harmony in the scheme.
Mr. Ojemhenke noted that the recent attempt by Prof. Usman to Victimize four (4) Directors in the scheme has led to the revelation that one Hassan Kabir Yar’ Adua whose illegal secondment to the scheme was aborted in November 2016 was a nephew of the Executive Secretary. He was upon arrival placed strategically in the Procurement Department to pave way for a possible arbitrary evaluation and consideration of the company Lubekh Nigeria Limited owned by Alhaji Kabir Yusuf Yar’ Adua Prof. Usman’s blood brother.
Lubekh Nigeria was engaged as a consultant to provide training for media and special public relations to the scheme at a contract sum of N46,798,512.00 (Forty Six Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight Thousand Five hundred and Twelve naira) .This company was registered to carry on business as food/meat processor, Building and construction work.
The statement reads: Kabir Hassan Yar’ Adua at the time of his Secondment to NHIS as a staff was holding a position of a Director in this puppet company against the clear provisions of the public Service Rules which criminalizes the holding of two appointments by a public servant at the same time. The ES had equally engaged in corrupt nepotism in November 2016 by fraudulently awarding to Lubekh Nigeria Limited a contract for training of NHIS staff on capacity building on communication strategy in Public service delivery at the cost of Seventeen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) which took place in Benin City. This is a gross abuse of Office, Official trust and evident violation of section 57 (12) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 which states that “a conflict of interest exist where a person possess a direct or indirect interest in or relationship with a bidder, supplier, contractor or service provider that is inherently unethical or that may be implied or construed to be or make possible personal gain due to person’s ability to influence dealings.
For avoidance of doubt, Prof. Usman Yusuf had on the 5th of March, 2018 less than 24 hours to the inauguration of the NHIS Governing Council engaged in a hurried move to release for investment N25, 0000,000,000.00 (Twenty Five Billion Naira) without regard to approving authority and due process. This move was frustrated some dedicated General Manager (Directors) in the scheme who insisted that due process must be followed. On his failure to achieve this move in the scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf earmarked for attrition the General Managers who scuttled his move while he repackaged/redesigned the proposal, this time around on the need to urgently invest the scheme’s residual funds.
While repackaging, he concealed some fundamental information which would have been vital to guide the Council in reaching appropriate decision on the request by Prof. Usman Yusuf for investment of 30,000,000,000 (Thirty Billion Naira). In the circumstance the Council found itself, it granted Prof. Yusuf’s request to invest the scheme’s residual funds of 30,000,000,000 (Thirty Billion Naira) with conditions, though.
Amongst the conditions given by the Council for the approval include; strict compliance with due process, investment of fund in government securities only, none payment of commission whatsoever to third parties and submission of an investment proposal to the council to enable them seek appropriate authorization of the Hon. Minister of Health. None of these conditions were adhered to by Prof. Usman Yusuf which resulted in in the outright withdrawal of the approval by the Council.
Mr. Ojemhenke stated that the Council having discovered this gross misconduct on the part of Prof. Usman issued him a query which, up to date he has refused to answer insisting he has the backing of the powers that be to run the scheme without recourse to other authorities including the Council.
The ASCSN sulked at the strange practice introduce by the Executive Secretary of setting up a Home Office. This they said is totally strange in the Public Service and is an outright abuse of office as no public service rules/regulations allow for setting up or maintaining of home office by Public Officers. Mr. Ojemhenke lamented how this practice has led to barefaced thievery/confiscation of office properties which he listed the procurement of four fire proof safes which were moved to his house under this dubious arrangement. Other items fraudulently moved to his house under the Home Office arrangement include set of Desktop computers, Set of Laptops, Photocopiers, and Refrigerators etc.
Recall that Prof. Usman Yusuf was previously suspended as the Executive Secretary of the NHIS by the Hon. Minister of Health for related corrupt practices but was recalled by the President in February this year.
Asked by the media of the level of engagement the ASCSN has had with the Executive Secretary, Mr. Ojemhenke responded that Prof. Usman Yusuf has maintained an attitude of high headedness, nepotism and a stiff resistance to attempts at getting him to carry others along constantly boasting of his higher connections.
Prof. Usman on his recall from suspension paid himself a whooping sum of 3,600,000.00 (Three Million Six Hundred Thousand Naira) allegedly used by him to fuel seven vehicles and reimbursement for purchase of newspapers while he was on suspension. Others contraventions include the refusal to refund 4,300,000.00 (Four Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira), the refusal to refund N14,158,000.00 (Fourteen Million One Hundred and Fifty Eight Thousand Naira), the allocation of unprecedented seven official vehicles to himself, payment of monthly allowance of N500,000.00, seven Police men attached to himself at a monthly expense of N565,000.00.