By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services yesterday said it would conduct a forensic audit to determine the financial status of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS.
The House had during the budget appraisal of the 2016 budgetary allocation to the National Healthcare Development Agency, NPHDA, and defence of the 2017 budget on Wednesday, asked management of the agency to furnish the committee with documents how about N17 billion budgeted for the agency to eradicate polio and procure vaccines and drugs among others, in 2016 was spent.
While appraising the performance of the 2016 budget and the 2017 budget defence, the Committee mooted the idea of embarking on forensic audit of financial transactions by the management of NHIS, especially as it concerns the budgetary allocation.
The decision was reached as a result of the failure of the new NHIS management, headed by Yusuf Usman, to respond to the invitation of the sub-committee earlier set up to audit the account of the agency.
Recall that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, had in 2015, accused the former NHIS boss of buying land at the sum of N990 million and pocketing 10 percent of the sum.
Besides, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had accused the Executive Secretary NHIS of smuggling about $2.2 million out of the country and instituted a suit against the management at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Irked by alleged fraudulent activities taking place at the health insurance scheme, the House in its resolution on December 2016 after listening to a motion sponsored by the Chairman of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, Chike John Okafor, halted the release of quarterly allocation to the Health Management Organisations (HMOs) pending the outcome of the investigation.
Okafor who represents Ehime Mbano/Obowo/Ihitte Uboma Federal Constituency of Imo State had alleged that the HMOs received over N351 billion since inception of the scheme in 2005 without commesurate result.