The immediate past Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Usman Yusuf, has refused to return five vehicles belonging to the NHIS, The PUNCH can confirm.
Yusuf, who was accused of fraud to the tune of N919m and sacked for other alleged infractions, failed to return the vehicles and other equipment including laptops belonging to the scheme.
In a letter dated July 1, 2019 signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, A.M. Abdullahi, the Federal Government asked Yusuf to hand over all of the agency’s property in his possession.
In the letter with reference number C.4051/T3/80 titled, termination of appointment, the sacked Yusuf was told that his termination was with immediate effect.
The letter read in part, “I am directed to convey the approval of the President for the termination of your appointment as Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme.
“Accordingly, you are to hand over the agency’s property in your care to the overseeing director. Please note that the termination of your appointment is with immediate effect.”
The PUNCH reports that over a week after the letter was delivered to him in his Maitama home, Yusuf refused to return the property.
The vehicles consist of a Toyota Land Cruiser with registration number NHIS FG01Y12; a Toyota Camry marked NHIS FG02Y12; two Toyota Corolla marked NHIS FG21Y12 and NHIS FG46Y12 and a Toyota Prado with number plate NHIS FG06Y12.
Our correspondent learnt that new NHIS Executive Secretary, Mohammed Sambo, had been finding it difficult to function as he had no official vehicles since he assumed duties.
It was learnt that some of the computers meant for Sambo were also not available.
A top source at the NHIS said, “On Sunday last week, we sent NHIS officials and policemen to retrieve the property from Yusuf but he refused to open the gate. The next day, which was a Monday, another team was sent but he remained adamant.”
The episode, however, took a sudden turn on Monday when Yusuf in a letter to his successor, demanded that a severance package be paid to him having served the agency for nearly three years.
However, a senior official in the agency told The PUNCH that Yusuf should not be taken seriously since his appointment was terminated.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “If he had completed his tenure, he would have been entitled to a severance package. However, he was sacked dishonourably and should therefore not be entitled to anything.
“I would expect the NHIS to involve the anti-graft or security agencies in the matter because no one is above the law.”
Spokesman for the NHIS, Mr Ayo Osinlu, could not be reached for comment as his telephone indicated that it was switched off when The PUNCH tried to reach him.
Yusuf did not respond to a telephone call as well as a text message on Thursday evening.