Traces of alleged corruption have been unearthed within the Health Insurance Agency in Abia State, revealing a siphoning of funds meant for vulnerable citizens through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
The fund, which is a Federal Government Initiative aimed at providing free medical attention to vulnerable children (aged 5 years and below), adults above 60 years, disabled individuals, and pregnant women, has been compromised by unscrupulous individuals.
Before the establishment of the program in Abia State, delegates were sent to the 17 Local Government Areas to identify and shortlist eligible beneficiaries. Subsequently, 160 patients were registered at each of the 292 healthcare centers in the state. The Federal Government releases N570 monthly for each patient, amounting to N91,200 per healthcare center and a total of N26,630,400 million monthly for the 292 centers.
Investigations revealed that when a beneficiary requires treatment beyond the capacity of the healthcare centers, such as surgery, they are referred to a secondary healthcare institution affiliated with the Health Insurance Agency. To facilitate this process, the head of the healthcare center contacts the head of the agency to generate a code for the patient’s treatment at the affiliated hospital, regardless of the cost.
Shockingly, it was discovered that some staff in the operation/verification unit stumbled upon files of individuals who supposedly received funds for treatment, yet the majority of these patients denied ever receiving any medical attention through the agency. Sources allege that a cabal within the organization colluded with affiliated hospitals to pad the names of non-existent patients, siphoning funds for fictitious treatments that amounted to N500,000 and more.
Further investigation exposed that 10% of the N26,630,400 million monthly capitation fee meant for health centers, approximately N2,663,040 million, was illicitly funneled into an unauthorized account titled “INCON ENTERPRISE.”
The scandal has cast a shadow over the credibility of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund in Abia State, as it failed to reach those who genuinely needed medical assistance while enriching a few corrupt individuals within the Health Insurance Agency. The public demands accountability, transparency, and immediate action to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent such malpractice from recurring in the future.
Background Story Source: AF News