Ex-Ekiti health commissioner faces new N1.5bln corruption charge

Mar 17 2016 - 10:26am

Dr Femi Thomas: to face corruption charge by ICPC

Dr Femi Thomas: to face corruption charge by ICPC

Dr Femi Thomas, former Ekiti Health Commissioner in remand at Ikoyi Prison over $2.2 money laundering charge is in new trouble.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) is set to prosecute him and his successor as executive secretary at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Mr Olufemi Akingbade , over an alleged N1.7 billion fraud.
 
The ICPC, in a report titled: “Corruption practices and abuse of office in NHIS,” dated November 15, 2015, indicted the two officials.

According to the Daily Trust, the six-page report prepared by the ICPC’s Special Duties Department and addressed to the commission’s chairman, found Thomas and Akingbade culpable of “abuse of office: flagrant abuse of financial rules and the regulations; executive rascality: embezzlement of public funds and monumental diversion of government funds.”

Olufemi Akingbade

Olufemi Akingbade

 The report said Akingbade committed the offence while he was General Manager, Information Communication Technology, during the tenure of Thomas in NHIS.

In Lagos, Thomas was charged on Tuesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with money laundering.

In the trial that opened at the Federal High Court he was alleged to have carried out a $2.2 million cash transaction without the involvement of any formal financial institution.

In July last year, Daily Trust reported how the former NHIS boss purchased a land in Abuja at N990 million, a price said to be three times its actual value.

The report said Akingbade and Thomas are “neck- deep in the systematic creation and manifestation of ghost enrolees in the scheme at a staggering cost of N327 million.”

 “Data generated from the Information Communication Technology form the bedrock with which payments are made to the Health Maintenance Organisation. As at December 2013, Bayelsa and Ekiti states Health Maintenance Organisations were not part of the Millennium Development Goals payment but were paid during the period without a generated data from the supposed Contribution Management Department,” the report said.

 The HMOs who received the payments are Allied (N31.2m), Clear Line (N43.2m), Health Wise (N63.8m) in Ekiti State; Regenex (N103.1m) in Bayelsa State and Satellite Health Trust (N9.8m) in Yobe State.

To cover up the fraud, the accused “later went ahead to award a contract of Integrity Review of Enrolee Data Base at the cost of N7m to Nexia Solution who gave the scheme a clean bill of  health and swept all anomalies under the carpet. However, Nexia Solution advised the scheme on how to plug the leaking drain pipe through which the scheme lost avoidable fund,” the report said.

The report added that though monetary approvals in excess of N2.5 million must be ratified by the agency’s governing council board, Thomas “unilaterally” approved N1 billion Millennium Development Goals capital payment for HMOs “without the approval and ratification” of the board.

The former NHIS boss also “doctored and distorted the proposal to the Board of Governing Council of the scheme to his advantage which then gave him the lee-way to annualize the supposed exit package of N21m,” the report said.  

* originally reported by Daily Trust

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