Reps to probe ‘illegal withdrawal of N10bn’ from NHIS

The house of representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of N10 billion from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) fund.

The resolution was sequel to a motion raised during plenary on Tuesday by Chike Okafor, a lawmaker from Imo state.

Okafor said for the purpose of carrying out its mandate, a fund made up of five percent contribution by each person insured under the scheme is maintained with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“A recent oversight inspection of the scheme by the committee on healthcare services revealed that two suspicious withdrawals of N5 billion each, totalling N10 billion, were made from the ‘Insured Persons’ Funds account,” he said.

“These were made on the account with the CBN on December 28, 2016, and January 11, 2018, respectively, when the executive secretary of the scheme was still under suspension.

“Upon inquiry, the executive secretary informed the committee that neither him nor any staff of the scheme made any request for either of the two withdrawals.”

He added that the committee was informed that the withdrawals were “authorised by the minister of finance without the input of the NHIS, in contravention of the laws and regulations governing such actions”.

Also speaking on the motion, Udoka Abonta from Abia, said monies should not be left idle in the TSA account.

“They should be put into business or execution of interest-generating projects,” he said.

“If that is done, it will reduce the chances of illegal withdrawals and usage of appropriated funds.”

Henry Ofongo from Bayelsa said it was not enough to have the monies refunded, but that there was need for an explanation on the withdrawal.

The lawmakers subsequently mandated the committees on healthcare services and finance and anti-corruption to investigation the alleged withdrawal and report back to the house within four weeks.