The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has assured the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that it will release the recovered funds of the scheme in its custody, which the commission has been holding for safety purposes.
This was contained in a statement by the Head of Press and Public Relations at NHIS, Mr. Ayo Osinlu Saturday, disclosing that the acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu gave assurance to release the fund when the NHIS team visited him.
The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Nasir Sambo had led the scheme’s management team on advocacy visit to the Head Office of EFCC in Abuja Friday
The statement quoted Magu as saying that the funds were retained in the safety of EFCC custody because the agency needed concrete assurance of due process, transparency and accountability in the further handling of the recovered funds.
While pledging the readiness of the anti-graft body to assist the scheme always, the EFCC boss advised his NHIS counterpart to intensify his ongoing value reorientation strategy to deepen the moral tone of staff and stakeholders of the scheme.
He described the scheme as a very helpful institution in healthcare financing, citing pleasant examples from his personal experience together with his family as enrolees of NHIS.
Sambo had sought the assistance of EFCC for the release of funds it assisted the scheme to recover from unlawful possessions.
Sambo thanked the commission for such recoveries in the past that had been remitted to the scheme.
According to him, the call for the release of the funds partly arose from the dwindling resources of the scheme, even while recent rapid assessments of the new leadership indicated pressing the need of funds for critical activities to grow the mandate of the Scheme.
Sambo also said parts of his strategies for taking the scheme to the next level “are the professionalization of the operations of the organization and strengthening the state offices to be able to effectively manage operations at that level since the bulk of the work is in the field space.”
He also said that the management team would strive to ensure effective application of the reward and sanction mechanism to regulate the conduct of all players in the industry”.
The money is said to be part of stolen funds, the EFCC had assisted the scheme to recover in recent times from certain persons and institutions that had improper custody of such funds.
THISDAY gathered that some banks had defaulted in paying the NHIS monies in their vault to the Central Bank in line with the federal government’s policy of Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Also, some Health Management Organisations (HMOs) that partnered with NHIS in operating the health insurance scheme were alleged to have illegally withheld the funds that accrued to the NHIS thereby prompting the intervention of the EFCC.