The governing board of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has defended its decision to suspend Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the scheme.
Speaking during an investigative hearing by a house of representatives ad-hoc committee, Enyantu Ifenne, chairman of the governing board, said the decision was to ensure transparency at the agency.
The board had recently suspended Yusuf over allegations of financial infractions and abuse of office.
But Yusuf kicked against the move, arguing that it is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has the power to discipline him.
A resultant crisis at the scheme had prompted the president to send Yusuf on “administrative leave” and order an investigation into the matter.
The house of representatives subsequently set up the ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter in a bid to resolve the crisis.
Ifenne on Thursday told the committee that the NHIS had become “dysfunctional” under Yusuf.
Asked to comment on the legality of the suspension, she replied: “If we erred, the president acted yesterday by correcting us. There are gaps in the (NHIS) act and we were justified by the action we took to ensure that the NHIS was run transparently.”
The NHIS senior staff association and the medical health workers’ union also made a joint presentation to the panel, which supported the council’s submission.
She alleged, among other things, that the management under Yusuf fraudulently padded the scheme’s 2018 budget to the tune of N1.3 billion and inflated the ICT expenditure from N7.7 billion in 2015 to N14.9 billion in 2018.
Ifenne also lamented the “punitive staff postings”, “unauthorised travels”, “wilful defiance of council directives” as other offences allegedly committed by Yusuf.
Yusuf, who was at the hearing, deferred his presentation to the next sitting on Friday.
The embattled NHIS executive secretary has asked the court to nullify his suspension and declare that the governing board has no power to discipline him.