More outrage have continued to trail an alleged instruction by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein, to transfer N585 million to the bank account of an individual.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The instruction for the payment is contained in a leaked letter dated December 20, 2023. In the letter, Edu instructed the accountant-general to transfer N585,189,500 to the UBA account of one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.
The transfer contravenes various sections of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations 2009, which are meant to prevent fraud and other forms of corruption.
Reacting in a statement, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), asked President Tinubu to probe the said payment.
The group specifically wants the President to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Lateef Fagbemi, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to “promptly and thoroughly probe the alleged payment by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu of N585.2 million meant for disbursement to vulnerable people in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos, and Ogun states into a private account.”
SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare wants Tinubu “to direct Mr Fagbemi and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly and thoroughly investigate whether the N585.2 million has been paid into any private account, and to identify and publish the names of anyone who may have received the money.”
“Anyone suspected to be involved in any improper payment or diversion of public funds should be brought to justice and any diverted public funds returned to the public treasury and paid directly to the rightful beneficiaries,” the statement read.
“Paying public funds into private accounts may create the perception or appearance of impropriety and give cover to any potential wrongdoing or diversion.
“Investigating these allegations and ensuring that the public funds meant to take care of the poor are transparently and accountably spent and recovering any diverted public funds are serious and legitimate public interests.”
Edu Denies Wrongdoing
Meanwhile, the minister has denied any wrongdoing in a post on X, insisting that the payment followed due process.
“Integrity and accountability are our watch word! Under my watch in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation no one will embezzle Government funds as before.
“The plans to tarnish the image of this administration, my person or the Ministry will amount to nothing,” she stated.
The fraud allegations now taint the government intervention programme.
Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged fraud.