Withdrawal of N10bn from NHIS account false – Auditor General

The Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, on Monday debunked an allegation of withdrawal of N10 billion from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), as published by one Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere.

He further stated that the publication which claimed that himself and the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, connived and withdrew the funds from the NHIS Account, was spurious because according to the publication, the first withdrawal of N5 billion from NHIS, was made in December 2016.

He explained that he could not have withdrawn any money in December 2016 as claimed, as he was only appointed in January 2017.

According to a statement issued by Mr. Ayine, in Abuja, “The attention of the Auditor-General for the Federation (AuGF), Mr. Anthony M. Ayine, FCA, has been drawn to a Facebook/online publication by one Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, alleging that the Vice President of the Federal Republic Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, and the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony M. Ayine, FCA, connived and withdrew from the NHIS Account, a total of N10 billion.

“According to the said spurious publication, the first withdrawal of N5 billion from NHIS, was made in December 2016.

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“While the motivation behind this publication may not be known, it clearly displays one out of the following things – or both of them: That the author is completely ignorant of the role and responsibilities of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

“The role and responsibilities of the AuGF are to audit the nation’s accounts and report to the National Assembly; the Auditor-General for the Federation has no Powers whatsoever to authorise withdrawal nor does he have any business withdrawing money from the NHIS or any other ministry, department or agency (MDA) of government.

“The AuGF, Mr. Anthony M. Ayine, FCA, was only appointed in January 2017, and could not have withdrawn any money in December 2016 as claimed. Ever since his appointment as Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony M. Ayine has never been a Board Member or an Officer of the NHIS; nor has he ever been a signatory to any Bank Accounts operated by the NHIS.”

He added, “It is noteworthy that the Constitution did not give the Auditor-General any Powers or rights to authorise withdrawal of any money or monies in accounts of any MDA whatsoever.

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“The Auditor-General for the Federation has no direct reporting relationship with the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Such irresponsible online publication is a calculated attempt to deceive the public and to tarnish the image of the Auditor-General for the Federation and the Vice President, and must be condemned by all and sundry.

“The whole allegation therefore, is not only illogical, highly embarrassing, scandalous, frivolous and unreasonable, but it is also calculated to smear the OAuGF and the person of the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony M. Ayine, FCA, tarnish and discredit his hard-earned reputation.”

He advised the general public to completely ignore and disregard the libellous publication in its entirety as a mere fiction of the imagination of the authors.

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