Friday, August 2, 2019

THE INSIDER: How N58m SUV landed NHIS ES in trouble — and earned him suspension

THE INSIDER: How N58m SUV landed NHIS ES in trouble — and earned him suspension
July 07
14:18 2017

Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has been suspended for three months by the minister of health, Isaac Adewole, over allegations of fraud.

In a letter dated July 6, 2017 seen by TheCable, Adewole said Yusuf’s response to the petitions written against him were “considered unsatisfactory”.

An investigative committee to probe the NHIS ES has been set up, Adewole wrote, and “you are directed to proceed on 3 (three) months suspension with immediate effect to pave way for an uninterrupted investigation, in accordance with Public Service Rule”.

He was also directed to hand over to the next most senior general manager in the agency.

TheCable understands that the final straw was the purchase of a Prado SUV by Yusuf for N58 million shortly before Ramadan, although his approval limit is N2.5 million.

A number of Prado SUVs are already attached to his office, but he still went ahead to buy a new one, according to insiders.

Since Yusuf was appointed ES on July 29, 2016, he has been accused of violating every procurement law and dishing out contracts to cronies.


An insider told TheCable: “The first infraction of the executive secretary was perpetuated through the training programme of staff. The total sum of N860 million was budgeted for training in the 2016 budget. Immediately Professor Yusuf assumed duty, he set in place machinery to award contracts for trainings which were all devoid of laid down procedures.

“These trainings were not targeted to improve the capacity of the staff but as will be observed in the empty content of the trainings particularly in the ICT sector. This he perfected with his cronies by organizing five different trainings namely: ICT, risk management, healthcare financing,  communication strategy, public procurement.

“All these spendings he carried out were above his approval limits, but he was always heard to claim that he has the ears of the president, they being from the same state, and whatever your complaints, they will go nowhere.”

He was accused of splitting contracts of N400 million in favour of First Digital and Techno-Law Forensics Ltd owner by an alleged his “benefactor and confidant”.

NHIS prado

The newly purchased SUV: Above Yusuf’s approval limit

“In one of the trainings, a course fee of N520,000 per staff for three days was approved without recourse to diligent planning but with the mindset to profiteer his cronies. After a lot of hue and cry from the general staff the fee was cut to N270,000 naira under suspicious circumstances,” another insider said.

“Thus the fraud began, most of these trainings which were scheduled to hold across the 36 states and the FCT never held, while those that held was incomparable to the funds which had all being released for the trainings. There was absence of training materials in most of the designated venues of the trainings.

“Multiples of payment vouchers ranging between N19 million, N18 million and N21 million where raised to cover up for the payment of over N400 million for these trainings.”


Over N250 million was to said have been arranged between Yusuf and a consultant, AMA Health Consult, owned by three retired managers of the scheme, “who are also bosom friends of the ES”.

They were named as Abdulsalam Bala, Kabiru Mustafa and Thomas Adeoye.

Yusuf was accused of awarding a training contract to them at a cost of N300,000 per staff for three days, but after an outcry from staff it was again reduced to N250,000 each.

“Similarly, a training of over N120 million was approved for staff training outside the country to his friend Mahdi, on risk management,” one of the petitioners said.

‘The amount of N150 million was also approved for the consultant in the training of report writing, who also happens to be his brother who is a retired director, Kabiru Yar’Adua.

“It should be observed that all these approvals by Prof. Yusuf are above his approval threshold according to laid down norms of the service, circumventing this by contract splitting.”


Yusuf allegedly approved supply of e-library equipment to a company, Promatrix Global Resources Ltd, for N28 million with the company getting paid before execution — against procurement rules.

The goods were supplied on the 06/04/2017 while the job had been paid for on the 28/03/2017 but the vouchers were tampered with to cover the anomaly. Assuming that the job was executed on the 27/04/2017, how possible is it to install and make payment within a day. These are questions the ES, GM F&A and GM Audit should answer for,” the insider said.

“The leadership of NHIS has developed the culture of spending the scheme’s funds without prior approval of the supervising minister, claiming the president had given him blank approval.

“Yusuf awarded several contracts above his N2.5m threshold which is against procurement act, and most of the contracts were awarded to Mallam Mahdi and his brothers.”

TheCable confirmed that Yusuf’s suspension was conveyed to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo as well as Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the president.

The senate is also investigating the now suspended ES.


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Social Comments


  1. Ade
    Ade July 08, 18:18

    Sadly, these are the elements a government that is positioned to fight corruption brought to power. NHIS is designed to bring succour the way of Nigerians that could not ordinarily bear the frightening cost of hospital bills. I have never enjoyed the services yet I am paying, so, many other million of Nigerians that just contributed to the scheme for other low income and poor Nigerians to have good health services. Too much money in NHIS and Government control is just not there. In a Country where poverty is legendary and health services are perpetually comatosed, someone somewhere committed N58million to buy a casket called SUV? It would be most unfortunate if this matter is swept under the carpet as usual. What I have observed with this NHIS is that no Executive Secretary has ever left that place with unsoiled hand. A scape goat must be made of someone to teach others that public appointment is not a licence to steal. period!

    Reply to this comment
    • sofem
      sofem July 12, 10:15

      Mr. Ade, there are clean evidences about the allegations. NHIS is a regulator of the Scheme, who has knife and axe to crush anyone who tries to downplay the set rules for the scheme. It is not all HMOs that are doing what they should do, and it is not all HMOs that are involved in shaddy deals as claimed by the ES.

      Somebody like you who has never accessed care under the scheme, it either your hmo is far away from you.

      If you tell me the name of your org, i can find out for you whom your HMO is. The scheme has touched so many lives. What is needful on the scheme is people knowing their rights, and hospitals doing the right thing, or otherwise face sanction.

      Now universal coverage is inevitable. what is universal coverage? Making health insurance compulsory by law. If this is done, premium becomes more affordable. With 2,500.00 or less, anybody is covered for a year. The higher the number, the better and cheaper.
      Now, let nhis partner with phamaceutical companies for customization of drugs with label on as being practiced in UK.

      This is what i expect him to be doing. Unfortunately, he lacks knowledge, and not ready to learn.
      Good day sir.

      Reply to this comment
  2. nath
    nath July 09, 13:58

    Your sad the kind of country we are operating. it appears everybody is the same. we cannot provide free healthcare services or job for Nigerians yet one per person is buying a car of about 58m naira. the painful part is that he get the lawyers to prevent him from being convicted and punished accordingly. so the trend is always steal as much as you can when you get there and use part of the loot to get the judiciary to defend you. nobody ever goes to prison. obviously, there’s no future for this country.

    Reply to this comment

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