Alleged massive insurance fraud: Reps vow to unmask perpetrators

The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the alleged  multi-billion Naira cash paid fraudulently  to government officials annually by insurance companies mandated to insure government’s fixed and non fixed assets by way of return on premium, on Monday, vowed to unmask the perpetrators.

The chairman of the committee, Honourable Adekunle Akinlade, who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the investigation in Abuja, on Monday, said the committee was not  to witch-hunt any individual, group of persons or organisation, but to carry out its mandate within the ambit of the law, which was to establish whether or not the monies were paid to civil servants.

While confirming that the committee had already identified very alarming infractions running into billions of Naira, which, he said, would not  be made public for now, Akinlade  hinted that the committee was  “still consulting with the relevant law enforcement agencies and financial institutions to ascertain the level of complicity of those involved.”

Akinlade,  however, raised eyebrow over the refusal of some government agencies to make submissions to the committee that would have gone a long way in carrying out its assignment as mandated by the House.

The government agencies that failed to make submission to the committee, according to the chairman, included: Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Security and Minting Corporation (NSMC), among others.

While frowning on the failure of the aforementioned agencies to make presentation to the committee, Akinlade  said, “it is unfortunate that they are under the illusion that this is ‘business as usual.’

“The assumption that by submerging their heads under water and holding their breaths, this investigation will pass by is a grave error of judgment because this committee shall invoke its full powers to enforce compliance,” he declared.

The ad hoc committee is expected to compel the Head of Service of the Federation and other statutory government establishments that purchased  direct insurance covers to provide detailed data of all premiums paid on group life (general) and related government assets in the last three years.

The committee is also expected to investigate the complicity of brokerage firms and insurance companies in the alleged multi-billion Naira return on premium practice.

The committee was equally mandated to carry out in-depth audit of the selection process and execution of such covers by government assets, underwriters, with a view of eradicating the fraudulent practice.

The committee, in the course of its investigation, grilled the representatives of Standard Insurance, Regency Insurance and NICON Insurance, among others,  their companies’ roles in the handling of government insurance policy.