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Alleged N919m fraud: EFCC, ICPC begin probe of suspended NHIS boss

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has begun investigations into allegations of misappropriation of funds and abuse of office levelled against the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf.

The EFCC stated this in a letter dated December 21, 2017, which was addressed to the current acting Executive Secretary of the NHIS.

The investigations by the commission started five months after Yusuf was suspended by the Federal Ministry of Health.

The ministry, four months ago, submitted the report of a panel on the allegations against Yusuf to the Presidency. In its report, the panel accused the suspended NHIS boss of N919m fraud.

The EFCC’s letter was titled ‘Investigation into activities of Prof. Usman Yusuf –suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme’.

Besides the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission is investigating the suspended executive secretary and four other officials of the NHIS.

The ICPC, in its letter dated December 11, 2017, and addressed to the acting executive secretary of the NHIS, stated that the officers were being investigated for “alleged violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Act 2000.”

The ICPC added, “Pursuant to Section 45(3) of the cited Act, you are hereby directed to recover the money advanced to the five officers (of the NHIS) and two staff from the Ministry of Health for the aborted trip to the Netherlands.

“You are further required to furnish the commission with the evidence of compliance by each of the beneficiaries.”

On its part, the EFCC stated that it was investigating suspected cases of fraud and misappropriation levelled against Yusuf during his tenure as the executive secretary of the NHIS between July, 2016 and July, 2017.

In its letter, with reference number CR: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/CTGI.2/VOL.15/ 237, and signed by its Director of Operations, Umar Abba, for the Acting Chairman, the EFCC is seeking information on, “All necessary documents relating to local and international training programmes sponsored by the scheme from July 2016 to July 2017.

“All documents relating to payment made to Katamaya First Call Hospital.

“All procurement documents relating to the e-library project of the NHIS. Documents relating to all NHIS-sponsored foreign trips embarked upon by the suspended executive secretary.

“All payments relating to the fuelling of the suspended secretary’s official vehicles. Disbursement of NEED assessment funds between July 2016 and July 2017.”

The EFCC requested documents relating to the audit verification conducted during the tenure of the suspended executive secretary.

The commission also said the NHIS should confirm if four other persons it mentioned in the letter were members of staff of the scheme and their current status.

The persons are Nasir Shinkafi, Shuab Mohammed, Suleiman Ilu and Yusuf Abdullahi.

The anti-graft agency stated that it was making the requests “pursuant to Section 38 (1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.”

However, there were indications on Tuesday that the suspended executive had begun moves to return to his post.

It was gathered that Yusuf had contacted members of a cabal in the Presidency to reach out to the President.

A Presidency official, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “He has the sympathy of members of the cabal, who have assisted him in reaching out to the President. He feels that he is being victimised.”

The panel, set up by the Federal Ministry of Health to probe the suspended NHIS boss and other activities at the NHIS, had presented a damning report to the Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole.

The report was submitted to the President in August.

The report was received by the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, on behalf of the President but the Presidency had remained silent on the report.

A top government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that the Presidency had so far not taken action on the report of the investigation initiated by the health minister because “a procedural error” was noticed.

The source claimed that contrary to the normal procedure, the Ministry of Health went ahead to prepare a White Paper on the report before forwarding it to the Presidency.

He said, “What I am aware of is that the ministry did not stop at investigating him, it prepared a White Paper on the report of the investigation. The Presidency has noticed this procedural error and has called the ministry’s attention to it.

“I don’t know if a fresh committee will be set up to investigate the matter all over again.”

The source added that the Presidency was also taking its time to ensure fairness in the case.

“You know that there are two legs to the issue. The suspended man has also made an allegation against the minister.

“He said he ran into trouble with the minister because he refused to provide a particular amount of money that he was asked to bring for the send-off of the ministry’s permanent secretary.”

When asked if the Presidency would investigate the minister before taking a stand on the matter, he said, “Like I told you earlier, I don’t know if a fresh committee has been set up yet.”

Presidential spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, could not be reached on the telephone as of the time of filing this report.

In the report, which was compiled by senior officials of the health ministry, the Department of State Services and the ICPC, the suspended NHIS boss was accused of perpetrating fraud to the tune of N919m.

The panel described Yusuf as a public servant who “portrayed a holier than thou attitude but at the background, milked the agency dry” by conniving with others to perpetrate fraud to the tune of over N919m.

According to the panel, the N919m was dubiously given as payment to consultants for staff training.

The committee said as the head of the agency, Yusuf was personally responsible for all administrative, procurement and financial lapses.

The panel noted “his (Yusuf’s) deceitful attitude coupled with ‘name dropping’ of Mr. President as having sent him to sanitise the NHIS, but he caused more harm than good to the scheme.”

The committee, therefore, recommended that the EFCC probe the agency for diversion of funds and contravention of the Procurement Act of 2007.

The report states that Yusuf contravened the Procurement Act of 2007 through nepotism and other irregular award of contracts and should be sanctioned in line with the provision of the Act.

Explaining how the alleged staff training scam took place, the committee said in some instances, the number of trainees was far more than the entire number of employees at the agency.

It noted that in other instances, some employees were registered for the same training in two different states at the same time.

Most of the consultants were said to have charged about N250,000 per participant.

 

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Data breach: FG slams N400m fine on four banks, others

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Data breach: FG slams N400m fine on four banks, others

The Nigeria Data Protection Commission has said more than 1000 financial institutions, schools, insurance companies, and consultancy firms are currently undergoing investigations for various degrees of breaches of citizens’ data.

 

 

 

This was as the commission’s National Commissioner, Vincent Olatunji, revealed that four major banks and three other institutions faced sanctions and incurred fines totalling N400m for infractions relating to breaches of citizens’ data.

 

 

 

Olatunji revealed this on Tuesday during an interactive session with journalists to mark the first anniversary of the signing into law of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission Act by President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.

 

 

On June 12, 2023, Tinubu assented to the data protection bill to advance privacy rights and other fundamental freedoms both in cyberspace and in analogue transactions.

 

 

The legislation allows Nigerians to seek redress from any form of data breach stipulating that citizens’ data is “processed in a fair, lawful and accountable manner”.

 

 

 

Recalling with nostalgia, the national commissioner stated, “As of this time last year, we were so unsure if the president would assent to the bill, what if the president didn’t sign it, what would have happened? The bill was passed by the ninth Assembly and usually, when a new government comes in, they want to jettison all that the former government did before it got there. More importantly, it was a new government. I was apprehensive, everyone was worried but I kept faith in God even though I was not sure too and on the 12th of June last year, the president signed it.”

 

 

 

Speaking further, Olatunji emphasised that the nation’s data ecosystem has surpassed a value of N10bn due to the multiplier effect of assenting to the bill.

 

 

 

He stressed the commission’s commitment to safeguarding citizens’ data by global best standards and practices, deeming it essential for ensuring its safety, security, and protection.

The national commissioner said, “Cumulatively, we have had over 1,000 reports of data breaches between when we started and now. The figure is low because of the low level of awareness among Nigerians.

Out of the 1,000 cases, about 400 of them are digital revenue companies that we call loan sharks but the main ones we have conducted investigations in the education sector, financial institutions, real estate, insurance, consulting, and schools and as of today, we have finalised four major investigations and some have paid their remediation fees. In the law, we can fine companies depending on the nature of the breach, impact on the subject and level of cooperation and we got N400m from remediation fees.”

 

 

He added that ongoing investigations were being conducted concerning data infractions.

Olatunji also highlighted that the activities of the NDPC have led to increased levels of compliance with the Nigeria Data Protection Act in both the private and public sectors.

“When we started, the levels of compliance within the private sector was about 49 per cent while the public sector was 4 per cent. But today, private sector compliance is above 55, while the public sector has reached 15 per cent “, Olatunji said.

The NDPC boss also announced that Nigeria is now at the forefront of the activities of the Global Data Assembly and has impacted the data ecosystem on the national economy as nations like Kenya, Ghana, China, Singapore, and Malaysia, among others.

 

 

 

“The Data Protection Act 2023 is a major milestone for Nigeria. Mr President laid our apprehension to rest when he signed the Act on June 12, 2023. It was a major turnaround for the industry. Now the data ecosystem is beyond everybody because it is a global phenomenon due to the impact of technology.

“In terms of jobs and wealth creation, promotion of tourism, perception and attraction of foreign direct investments into Nigeria, we have taken a leapfrog and even overtaken some countries.

“And that’s why Nigeria was given the hosting right for 2024 All African Data Protection Commission’s and Institutions. About 30 countries would be here next year for the event,” Olatunji said.

He said the commission had concluded arrangements to train 10,000 public servants in responsible data management, while about 1,000 data protection officers and processors including journalists would undergo training by the NDPC.

To check the activities of digital loan platforms, Olatunji said the NDPC collaborated with CBN, ICPC, EFCC, and other regulatory authorities, lamenting that most of the illegal digital loan platforms had no known or traceable addresses.

He, however, emphasised that ongoing efforts would focus on raising awareness among vulnerable Nigerians who fall prey to loan sharks due to lack of knowledge. He noted that the nation’s large population and vast landmass pose challenges to fully clamping down on the activities of digital loan sharks, as many operate from isolated or remote areas without identifiable addresses.

 

 

 

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GTCO Notice Of Proposed Offering

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GTCO Notice Of Proposed Offering

NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, IN WHOLE

OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN OR INTO ANY

JURISDICTION IN WHICH THE SAME WOULD BE UNLAWFUL

 

 

LAGOS, Nigeria, June 11, 2024.

 

This notice is issued in reliance on Rule 283 of the Rules & Regulations of the Securities & Exchange Commission, Nigeria.

This notice does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. Any offer, solicitation or offer to buy, or any sale of securities will be made only by a prospectus duly registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (SEC) in accordance with the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act, No. 29, 2007 (the Act) and the rules and regulations of the SEC made pursuant to the Act (the SEC Rules).

 

NOTICE OF PROPOSED OFFERING

 

Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCOPLC) has filed a preliminary “red herring” prospectus (Red Herring Prospectus) with the SEC in connection with a proposed offering for subscription of ordinary shares of 50 kobo each in its share capital (the Ordinary Shares) to raise gross proceeds of up to N500 Billion (the Proposed Offering). The number of Ordinary Shares to be offered and the price range for the Proposed Offering have not yet been determined.

              

 PURPOSE

The net proceeds of the Proposed Offering will be used for (i) the growth and expansion of the GTCOPLC Group’s businesses. Such planned growth and expansion will be effected through investments in technology infrastructure to fortify existing operations, the establishment of new subsidiaries and selective acquisitions of non-banking businesses; and (ii) the recapitalisation of Guaranty Trust Bank Limited.
    

TARGET INVESTORS

The Proposed Offering is structured as an institutional offering targeted at eligible investors and a retail offering within Nigeria (the Nigerian Tranche) and a private placing to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers outside Nigeria (the International Tranche).
LISTING AND ADMISSION

TO TRADING

 

An application will be filed for the approval of the Board of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) with respect to the listing and admission to trading of the Ordinary Shares on the NGX Official List.
ANTICIPATED TIMING OF THE PROPOSED OFFERING The Proposed Offering is anticipated to open by July, 2024.

The filing of the Red Herring Prospectus was undertaken with a concurrent filing of a preliminary universal shelf registration statement. The universal shelf registration will permit GTCOPLC to establish a multi-currency securities issuance programme (the Programme) to issue various types of securities, or any combination of such securities, in one or more offerings, from time to time, to raise proceeds in an aggregate amount of up to U.S.$750 million (or equivalent amount in Nigerian Naira) in the Nigerian/international capital markets during the validity period of the Programme.

 

The Proposed Offering is expected to be the first issuance under the Programme.

 

This notice does not constitute an offer of securities for sale in the United States or to U.S. persons (“U.S. persons”), as such term is defined in Regulation S promulgated under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, (the U.S. Securities Act). The Ordinary Shares being offered have not been, nor will be, registered under the U.S. Securities Act or any state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to U.S. persons absent registration or an applicable exemption from such registration requirements.

 

About the Issuer

 

Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc is the ultimate holding company of the GTCOPLC Group.

 

The GTCOPLC Group is one of the largest financial services organisations in Africa. Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, the Issuer maintains direct and indirect investments in a network of operating entities located in 10 countries across Africa and the United Kingdom. Within these regions, the operating entities provide a comprehensive range of commercial banking and related financial services to millions of retail, institutional, private banking and wealth management customers, in addition to asset management, pension fund administration and payment technology businesses.

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Investor Relations:

ir@gtcoplc.com, +234 2012714580

 

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At Labule, we are committed to raising the standards of our local delicacies- Binta Adisa, MD, Roots Foods Limited

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At Labule, we are committed to raising the standards of our local delicacies- Binta Adisa, MD, Roots Foods Limited

 

 

The Managing Director/ Chief Chef, Roots Foods Limited, the parent company of Labule Restaurants, Binta Adisa, has reiterated the commitment of the company to maintaining the quality of local delicacies offered to its customers.
Adisa disclosed this during the official opening of a new Labule Restaurant in Ikorodu on Saturday, June 8, 2024. The opening of the Ikorodu outlet will make it the fourth outlet established since its inception ten years ago.

 

At Labule, we are committed to raising the standards of our local delicacies- Binta Adisa, MD, Roots Foods Limited

 

While declaring the restaurant open, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulkabir Shotobi commended the management of Roots Foods Limited for choosing to build such an enterprise in Ikorodu saying that not only would it contribute to job creation but also boost the economic prosperity of the environ. While offering prayers at the occasion, Oba Shotobi noted that the arrival of the restaurant in Ikorodu provides an opportunity for every Nigerian to identify with their roots.
On her part, the Managing Director, Roots Foods Limited, explained further that the decision to open another outlet in Ikorodu comes as a result of increased demand for local delicacies by residents, and also offers an opportunity to cater to the diversity of culture domiciled in the axis.

 

 

 

She stated that the Labule brand, which has existed for a decade, has remained true to itself by promoting Nigerian identity and culture. Reminiscing on the journey thus far, she stressed that her passion to see the business succeed has continued to be the driving force amidst business challenges.

 

 

 

 

“For us, one major thing that kept us going is the passion that I have for food and the business generally. I am someone who loves to eat and cook. It gives me joy when I see people eat and they are happy. Besides, the loyalty of our customers has also been of great help. It would interest you to know that some customers have been with us for 10 years. We also appreciate our team of dedicated staff who have been there for us. One key thing that has also contributed is my background in accounting, which helped a great deal in running the business well.

 

 

 

 

Notwithstanding, we have had challenges such as finance, manpower, and some of the issues associated with the volatile nature of the Nigerian economy,” she said.

 

 

 

Asked about the projection for the next decade, she disclosed that plans are already in the works to open outlets in other cities in Nigeria with the contemplation to expand footprints abroad thereafter.

 

 

 

 

The event also attracted other dignitaries from all walks of life including His Royal Majesty, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Abdulsemiu Orimadegun Kasali, Baale of Ojogbe, Oluakyode Olomo and Muslim clerics among other guests.

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