***Minister To Defend Usman’s Suspension Before C’tte
By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja
As part of its probe into the alleged mismanagement of N351 billion paid Health Maintenance Organisation (HMOs) between 2005-2016, the House of Representatives committee on health services has issued a two day deadline to 35 organisations to submit their audited accounts to the Committee.
Issuing the directive, Chairman of the Committee, Chike Okafor revealed that of the 59 HMOs which received payments from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the last 11years, only 24 of made available their accounts to auditing consultants appointed by the House committee to ascertain the amount all the firms were paid.
Okafor said that in the spirit of fair hearing, the Committee had resolved to give defaulting HMOs up until Wednesday to avail the auditors working on behalf the Committee, their records.
He said: “As we announced on the final day of the public hearing on the allegations of fraud in health insurance administration and the maltreatment on enrollees on NHIS, the Committee sent auditors to Lagos State to thoroughly scrutinise the books of HMOs.
“This was done in order to compare the figures the NHIS said it paid HMOs overtime to what they actually received. So far, the auditors have gone through the accounts of 24 of them, with 35 of these companies yet to meet with those we sent.
“The NHIS provided us with all the documents to show how much they paid, but we cannot conclude the investigation without checking what the HMOs received and this is why we have given them till Wednesday to allow for a checking of their account.
“But if they don’t comply, we will be compelled to move on because, we are bent on submitting our report on Thursday. The HMOs are the only parties delaying us, because like I said, NHIS has given us documents on the monies paid and we’ve also had good responses from hospitals and care givers”.
The lawmaker also disclosed that the minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole will appear before the committee on Thursday to respond to queries on the three-month suspension of the Executive-Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
The invitation follows a resolution of the House on the controversial suspension of the NHIS boss by the minister.
According to Okafor, “We have written the minister to invite him to appear before us as mandated by the House. The date given in the letter is Thursday 27 July. I have been in touch with the minister and the last time we spoke, he told me he was travelling to Ibadan on Friday for the burial of the late Executive-Director of UNFPA.
“He didn’t tell me he wouldn’t be able to appear before the Committee. The right procedure is for him to write the Committee, if he will not appear before us and as I speak with you we haven’t received any letter from him, so I believe we will be meeting with him on Thursday”, Okafor said.
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