February 4, 2020

Our accounts unaudited in 6 years, says NHIS boss

NHIS, Accounts
Prof. Nasiru Sambo

By Tordue Salem – Abuja

The National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, hasn’t audited its accounts in 6 years, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Prof. Nasiru Sambo confessed to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The ES whose self-disclosure followed and apology to the Public Accounts Committee of the House said the accounts of the agency were unaudited for the past six years due to “the frequent changes” of Chief Executive Officers of the agency.

Prof Sambo made the revelation in Abuja at the resumed Public hearing organized by the Public Accounts Committee headed by Rep. Oluwole Oke(PDP-Osun), on the alleged “Refusal of Non-Treasury Funded and Partially Funded Agencies to Render their Audited Accounts covering the period 2014-2018 to the Auditor-General of the Federation”.

Sambo in his testimony before the House, along with the General Manager, Finance and Administration of the Agency Mr John Okon, also revealed to the House that even the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Agency refused to sign the 2014 financial report, on the excuse that he was not in the Office when the expenditures were made.

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The NHIS boss who apologised for the infractions, however, disclosed that efforts were on top gear for comprehensive auditing of the financial accounts of the Agency being one of the mandates given to him by the Federal Government when he was appointed about seven months ago.

While corroborating the submission of the Executive Secretary, Mr Okon who was the Head of the Audit during the period under review before his promotion to the current rank, said many efforts for proper audit, failed.

He also stated that the absence of the Covering Board of the Agency who could have approved the audited accounts of the Agency under the period, contributed to its inability to have approved audited accounts.

Responding, the Chairman of the Committee and some other members such as Rep. Terseer Gbilla (Benue-PDP) and Rep. Bulus Maren (Plateau- PDP) kicked against the response from the agency, saying that it was a serious breach of extant public sector financial regulations, following which, the Committee ordered a comprehensive status enquiry into the activities of the agency with a view to ascertaining how their health insurance coverage had been carried out in the last six years.

Rep Oke wondered how such an all-important Agency of the Federal Government would have operated within the period under review, with billions of Naira budgeted for it, without any audit.

Oke who also accused the heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs who refused to appear before the Committee of sabotaging governance of the country, warned the heads of the MDAs to stop hiding under the guise of absence of governing Boards that would approve their audited Accounts, as reasons for not coming before the Committee with their documents.

The Committee also stepped down the submission presented before it by the management of the Lagos International Trade Fair led by Mrs Lucy Ajayi, saying that the audited account was fraudulent.

The Committee, therefore, ordered the Agency to appear before it on Friday along with the external Auditor who audited the accounts.

The Committee insisted that the External Auditor must come along with his professional practising licence and proof of his professional qualification.

Besides, the Committee sent back the financial Director of the Development Bank and insisted that its Chief Executive officer should appear before it in person to field queries on their operations.

Other Agencies which also appeared before the Committee are the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, National Information and Technological Development Agency, NITDA, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND amongst others.

Vanguard News Nigeria.