Fidelity Advert

Presidency mum on Betta Edu probe — six weeks after Tinubu’s directive

Presidency mum on Betta Edu probe — six weeks after Tinubu’s directive %Post Title


Forty-three days since President Bola Tinubu as minister of humanitarian affairs, and ordered her probe, updates on the findings have been few and far between.

The president’s directive, which came in the wake of public outcry, was based on allegations of financial impropriety in Edu’s ministry.

The suspended minister had found herself entangled in a web of controversies; first for allegedly approving funds for air fare to Kogi — a state with no airport.

The alleged approval was contained in a leaked internal memo dated November 6, 2023.

In the memo, the sum of N72,374,500 was appropriated for the minister’s “advance team” to travel by air for an “event” in Kogi.

Each of the minister’s “advance team” members, including aides, was allocated the sum of N200,000 for flight tickets, N20,000 for airport taxi, local running expenses, and DTA depending on grade level — all amounting to N72,374,500. The sum of N300,000 was earmarked for Edu’s air fare.

Days later, another memo surfaced, wherein she asked Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein, the accountant-general of the federation, to transfer N585 million to the private account of a government official.

The money was to be transferred from the National Social Investment Office account to a bank account owned by Bridget Oniyelu, the accountant of Grants for Vulnerable Groups, a federal government intervention initiative.

THE TUNJI-OJO CONNECTION

Amid the controversy, New Planet Project Limited, a company founded by Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the minister of interior, was discovered to have obtained a N438 million consultancy contract from the humanitarian affairs ministry.

Denying any wrongdoing, the interior minister said he resigned from the company in February 2019 when he was elected to the house of representatives.

The company was registered on March 3, 2009, at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) – 10 years before he became a member of the lower chamber of the national assembly.

The minister said he was no longer one of the directors of the company but admitted that he was still a shareholder.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) subsequently invited Tunji-Ojo over alleged breach of the code of conduct for public officers.

“The bureau’s invitation is hinged on its mandate and powers as enshrined in the Third Schedule, Part 1, 3 (e) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” Veronica Kato, CCB spokesperson, had said.

OUTRAGE, SUSPENSION… SILENCE

Following the outrage by Nigerians over the saga, Tinubu suspended Edu on January 8 and mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to “conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transaction” involving her ministry.

The president also directed a panel headed by Wale Edun, minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, to “among other functions, conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes with a view to conclusively reforming the relevant institutions and programmes”.

Tinubu also suspended all administered programmes by the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA). The humanitarian ministry supervises the NSIPA.

However, six weeks after the president’s directives, little has been heard about the matter.

There has also been no word from the presidency regarding the progress or update of the investigation.

Although TheCable understands that Edun’s committee has met twice over the matter, presidential spokespersons — Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser on media and publicity; Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, senior special assistant on print media; Tope Ajayi, senior special assistant on media and publicity; and Fredrick Nwabufo, senior special assistant on public engagement — all failed to respond to calls or messages when contacted for an update on the probe.

Likewise, calls and messages to Dele Oyewale, spokesperson for the EFCC, went unanswered.

(The Cable)

League of boys banner

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.