MEMBERS of the House of Representatives yesterday agreed to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the over N35 billion being cash payouts to government officials annually by insurance companies mandated to insure government fixed and non-fixed assets. The House also compelled the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, and other statutory government establishments that purchase direct insurance covers to provide detailed data of all premiums paid on group life and related government assets within the last three years. The resolution followed a motion of matters of urgent national importance titled ‘Urgent Need to Investigate the Fraudulent
Multi-Billion Naira Cash Payouts to Government Officials Annually by Insurance Companies Mandated to Insure Government Fixed and Non-Fixed Assets by way of Return on Premiums’ moved by Hon. Prestige Ossy. In his lead debate, Ossy recalled that over N35billion was appropriated and expended on insurance covers of fixed and non-fixed government assets in the 2015 appropriation. He explained that at the beginning of every financial year, brokerage firm, insurance and reinsurance companies were invited to bid for insurance of government fixed and non-fixed assets. The lawmaker hinted that the unduly favoured companies reciprocate by engaging in a fraudulent practice termed ‘Return on Premiums’ whereby a percentage
as much as 50 percent of the premium paid by government are returned to government officials as cash pay back, thus creating the biggest recurring fraud in the public sector. Ossy stressed that if the criminal practice was not checked, billions of naira meant for other pressing national needs would continue to go into private pockets. In its resolution, the House said it would probe the complicity of brokerage firms, insurance and reinsurance companies in the alleged multi-billion naira return on premium practice. The House also resolved to carry out an in-depth audit of the selection process and execution of such covers by government assets underwriters with the view of eradicating the fraudulent process. The ad hoc committee was given eight weeks to submit its report.

READ ALSO  FG settles for ranches, says rampaging herdsmen are non-Nigerians