Couple arrested for stealing N38 million health insurance remittances

Nigeria Police Force
Nigeria Police Force

The Lagos Police have arrested a couple for allegedly stealing N38 million at a health insurance company.

Funmilayo Oyelaja, 38, and Tunde Ogunseye, 42, fled to Ghana after the crime, but were arrested after Mr Ogunseye returned home for the burial of his mother.

The police paraded the couple in Lagos on Monday. Although not legally married, they have been partners since 2015.

Ms Oyelaja, who is the prime suspect, worked with Clearline Health Insurance Limited where she allegedly siphoned money meant for health insurance.

Mrs Oyelaja said she worked in the company’s account department for 10 years and stole “only N38 million”, contrary to the N60 million the company alleged.

She claimed that the company diverted the money that was meant to return to NHIS, to an account where the company fixed it, and her superiors were aware of the illegality.

She gave the names of the superiors as Kolawole Samuel and Patricia Ogundeinde.

Tunde Ogunseye, the partner who was arrested by the police, said he did not know much about the crime, only that they travelled to Ghana together.

He claimed she has been his girlfriend since 2015 and they already had their visas before they received a strange call advising them to leave Nigeria.

The couple travelled to Ghana in 2017. Mr Ogunseye said he lost his mother and had to come to Nigeria for the funeral arrangement and that was how he was arrested.

“I lost my mum last week and I was at the burial where they came to arrest me,” he said.

Ms Oyelaja, however, said she came on her own to make confessions, seeing that her partner had been arrested.

Ijeoma Anyiam, a representative of Clearline Health Insurance Limited who was present when the suspects were paraded, gave the company’s side of the story.

Mrs Anyiam is the company secretary and general manager in charge of administration.

She said what the couple were involved in was pure fraud and had nothing to do with remittance or no remittance.

Mrs Anyiam denied the claim by the suspect that over the 10 years she had worked with it, the company did not remit NHIS funds to the appropriate quarters.

“She can claim anything, that’s how a dying man operates. A drowning man would clutch at anything. But the truth of the matter is that the National Health Insurance Scheme has all the information of remittances that are made every year. For hospitals that are closed down or hospitals that cannot be located, the money is remitted back to the NHIS, the records are there.”

She said the company discovered the fraud the day she started her annual leave and the company received a call from a hospital that it had not been receiving NHIS payment for months.

“The way we discovered that she was operating was that she would put the name of the hospital and put her account number which could be her personal account number, or her son’s.

Read also: I will focus on implementing major health laws, policies – Minister

“When you’re dealing with over 2000 hospitals for instance, and then you need to make approval for their money, all you are looking at is to see that these hospitals are listed.

“The point where we discovered was the day she commenced annual vacation when a hospital called that they had not received their payments for months.

“They said that anytime they called, she would tell them that it would be resolved. Since that was her portfolio, she had been the one handling it.

“But because she was on vacation, somebody else had to look into it, that was where they discovered.”

Mrs Anyiam added that the employees the suspect alleged are still with the company and it is the police’s job to carry out investigations.

The suspect, Mrs Oyelaja, said the stolen fund had been returned to the company. The house and other properties acquired with the money have also been seized.

The police are still investigating and said the suspects would be charged to court.

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