The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has called for the immediate suspension of Prof Usman Yusuf, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), by the Federal Government over allegations of gross misconduct.
Mr Isaac Ojemhenke, Head of Abuja Secretariat of the association, made the appeal while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Ojemhenke noted that since the recall of the NHIS scribe on Feb 6 he had embarked on activities capable of jeopardising industrial peace and harmony in the scheme.
This, he said, had caused division among members of staff along ethnic, tribal and religious lines.
Ojemhenke said that the aborted illegal secondment done by Yusuf, in November 2016 revealed that he brought his nephew, Hassan Kabir Yar’Adua, and posted him to Procurement Department.
He alleged that the appointment was to pave way for a possible arbitrary evaluation and consideration of his father’s company, Lubekh Nigeria Limited, for consultancy in NHIS at a contract sum of N46,798,512.
“Prof. Yusuf engaged in corrupt nepotism in November 2016 by fraudulently awarding contract to Lubekh Nigeria Limited for the training of NHIS staff on capacity building at N17,500,000 in Benin, Edo.
“This is gross abuse of office, official trust and evident violation of Section 57(12) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
“On March 5, Yusuf also engaged in a clandestine attempt to move the sum of N25 billion of enrollees fund for investment before the inauguration of the NHIS governing council, but failed.
“He further moved to get an approval for a dubious investment of another N30,000,000,000, without strict compliance to due process as directed by the governing council.
“The council having discovered such gross misconduct by the Executive Secretary, issued him a query, which up to date he has refused to answer,’’ he said.
Besides, the union leader alleged that Yusuf diverted some NHIS property under the guise of setting up `Home Office’ before his suspension in August 2016, which was strange to public service rules and abuse of office.
He added that on Yusuf`s recall from suspension, `the scribe paid himself N3.6 million allegedly used by him to fuel seven vehicles attached to himself and as reimbursement for purchase of newspapers when he was on suspension.
Ojemhenke further alleged that the NHIS boss refused to refund the sum of N4.3 million which he advanced to himself for a trip to Netherlands, which the Minister of Health never approved in 2017.
“The scheme has also been directed to recover the sum of N14,158, 000 paid to Yusuf and four others for the Netherlands trip and on resumption of office chose to disregard the directives.
“An allocation of seven official vehicles to himself and payment of monthly allowance of N500,000 for fuelling with seven policemen attached to him with monthly expense of N565,000.
“All attempts by the council to make him tow the line of financial discipline and prudency in the face of dwindling resources of the scheme has been resisted by Yusuf.
“The Association is demanding that the government should do the needful as regards the case of Prof. Yusuf, he needs to be asked to step down to serve as a deterrent to others,’’ he said.
Ojemhenke added that such action was necessary in respect of the anti-corruption war of the present administration.
Reacting to the allegations on phone, Yusuf dismissed them as spurious, laughable and unserious.
The executive secretary told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the workers were merely kicking against a minor redeployment he effected last week.
According to him, the transfers were intended to rejig the scheme and not as a punitive measure.
“How can an individual perpetrate all these 12 allegations running into several billions of naira within a short span of time without insiders’ knowledge or collaboration?’’ Yusuf asked.
He challenged the workers to substantiate their allegations and advised all those fighting against the ongoing positive changes to have a rethink in the interest of enrollees and the country.
Yusuf declined further comments, saying “I am yet to see a copy of their press conference’’.
NAN recalls that Yusuf was earlier suspended from office by the Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole Isaac, over allegations of maladministration and insubordination.
But Yusuf dismissed the allegations, explaining that it is corruption that is fighting back.
According to him, serious are measures needed to weed the scheme of fraud for effective and efficient service delivery.