The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has blasted the House of Representatives for asking the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to reinstate the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf.
Sagay who spoke with Punch said the lower chamber has no constitutional power to give ministers orders.
He added that the House cannot interfere in the internal investigation being conducted by a ministry.
Sagay added, “Whatever the case may be, the House certainly has no role in the internal investigation set up by a ministry. This is the disease plaguing the National Assembly which thinks it is the executive arm of government. That pronouncement of the House giving the minister seven days to reinstate the NHIS boss is null and void.
“If they cannot concentrate on their job and want to do the job of the executive, we are going to have a big problem on our hands. We will have chaos and confusion. So, that directive is null and void. It is outside of their jurisdiction. They were elected primarily to make laws.”
He added that ministers had the right to suspend heads of agencies but lacked the power to fire them.
He added, “I believe the minister has the power to suspend the head of an agency. It is probably in the rules guiding the civil service. I know that the minister is the Chief Executive Officer of the ministry and so he can suspend but of course he cannot suspend indefinitely.
“And, of course, there has to be a proper inquiry that would be set up to establish his guilt or innocence and the person must be present to defend himself. The suspension is to enable the accused person to clear himself and to give room for proper investigation and the power to suspend lies in the CEO of the ministry.”
Yusuf, who was under investigation by the Senate for an alleged N960m scam, was suspended on July 6, 2017, by the minister.