*I will expose the deal if my money is not returned
Embattled Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman, in a bid to keep his position following his suspension over several allegations and petitions of corruption and gross misconduct levelled against him approached the House of Representatives.
Sources who won’t want to be quoted claimed he paid the sum of N250million to the chairman House Committee on Health, Hon. Chike Okafor to leverage the battle against the Minister.
According to another source inside the NHIS, he described the professor as a possible druggie. He can be normal at times. He can be combative and aggressive the next minute.
The source quoted the professor to have during the week asked the member of the parliament to please make arrangements to return the money back to him since their expected action could not stave his suspension.
He was alleged to have threatened the Rep that he will be forced to reveal the details of the payment to the media. On that telephone conversation which one of the parties recorded, he told the receiving end that he has evidence of the different tranches he made available to him. He cited the tranches as N100 million, N100 million, N38 million and N12 million.
Despite the knowledge of Prof. Usman that investigations against him and his subsequent suspension was approved by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, he went ahead to write an open letter rejecting his sack.
Prof Usman Yusuf was quoted to have said that he has a fat war chest and backing of higher powers.
He was quoted to have said: “Adewole (Health minister) and Osinbajo (Acting President) are colluding against me, you know the Yorubas own these HMOs.”
Prof Usman was suspended on the 6th of July, 2016 against the backdrop of several petitions and allegations against him as revealed in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Health.
Prof. Usman Yusuf who was in the dark about his suspension has gone about amassing wealth, enriching himself and cronies while he continues to abuse powers with the “backing of the presidency,” a claim he flaunts openly to various associates who have tried to caution him.
A ranking official at the NHIS said, “Professor Usman Yusuf is a very corrupt and arrogant person who hides under strong rhetoric of fighting corruption. He banks on his close ties to President Muhammadu Buhari to violate public service rules. Nobody could have gotten away with the kind of things he has perpetrated without the backing of higher powers. Otherwise someone like him should be cooling off at the EFCC,” the official said.
Fraudulent Contracts and Nepotism: According to our checks, Professor Usman Yusuf since his resumption awarded several contracts above his approval limit. Ordinarily, heads of agencies in Nigeria have a N2.5 million and would need to seek ministerial approval, after due process before any contracts and payments are made. Professor Usman Yusuf willfully ignores this and is often overlooked by the minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who seems to be helpless because of the audacity and the potential backers of Yusuf’s excesses.
On many occasions, most of the contracts are being awarded to his direct relations. On one of such occasions, Usman Yusuf awarded a contract of N28 million for the supply of e-library equipment to Promatrix Global Resources limited and had to backdate the contract award letter as the payment was made to the contractor in full on the 28th of March 2017 while the goods were certified to have been delivered on the 6th of April. Other corrupt awards to friends and cronies without seeking approval from the ministry or following due procurement process include a training of 150 million on risk management and another training of 120 million Naira on report writing which was executed by a company owned by one Kabiru Yar’Adua, who our source described as his close relative. The suspended NHIS boss was also said to have spent over N250 million on anti-corruption trainings and initiatives. The minister was reportedly triggered to take action after receiving petition and evidence of a N56 million SUV purchase in addition to the fleet of jeeps owned by the NHIS chief on the Sallah break.
“This is unbecoming of a man who claims to be keen on fighting corruption and on the side of the poor Nigerians, N56 million could revitalise at least 10 Primary Health Centers and save up to 200,000 lives,” a top official at the health ministry said shaking his head in disgust.
“The annoying side is that this man brags with the authority of the president, but the sad thing is that President Buhari is not feeling well, otherwise he does not support this kind of attitude.”
Illegal recruitment: Professor Usman Yusuf upon his appointment on the 29th of July 2016 immediately embarked on the redeployment of a select number of top level management staff to various zonal offices across the country. According to an official within the NHIS, he single-handedly brought 15 people on secondment from various government agencies and placed them as General Managers within the organisation without the due process or involvement of the human resources unit.
According to them, he was queried on this issue by the ministry of health after petitions from various staff at the NHIS and he had to back down. “He still continued to pay them salaries. This is because he gave them an upfront of 12 months as at the time of recruitment” our source disclosed.
According to the source, the General Manager of Human Resources, also from Northern Nigeria, had confronted him on this illegality. An embittered and angry Professor Usman Yusuf redeployed him to Maiduguri in Borno State.
“We are wondering whether he sent him to die,” Our source said. According to the source the ES has been running a one-man show and has held no top management meeting since the start of January 2017.
Personal War against HMOs: Professor Usman Yusuf has waged a war against Health Management Organisations claiming to be tackling corruption. Our checks revealed that there were several HMOs who are not corrupt as he branded all of them. Of particular interest was the announcement of the plan by the suspended NHIS ES to reaccredit all the HMOs in the country. Prof Yusuf is outraged that HMOs were based in Lagos and has asked for those ones in the North West to begin registering first. However, we found out that the condition for this accreditation was for the HMOs to register through Guinea Insurance, a company allegedly owned by one of his business fronts.
Since his sack the ES NHIS has recruited bloggers and social media influencers online to drive his narrative and is embarking on a divisive ethnic campaign accusing the minister of executing a Yoruba agenda by protecting HMOs.
Several groups have been formed including a Nigerians against Corruption blog while cash has been shared to journalists and ‘online rats’ to sow disinformation on Twitter, Facebook, Nairaland and Whatsapp.
According to documents available to our medium released by the Joint Labour Union within the NHIS, a number of documents have been carried away from the scheme. According to an official familiar with the matter, “this is mysterious, coming at a time that the external auditor for the NHIS was recently kidnapped in Kaduna.”