Alleged Corruption: Tinubu Orders Minister’s Probe

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Betta Edu
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  • Falana Asks Edu To Resign

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has ordered a probe of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, over the disbursement of hundreds of millions of naira into a private account.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made this known in a statement on Sunday.

Controversy had enveloped Edu’s alleged involvement in the approval of N585,198,500.00 to be disbursed into a personal account.

In a letter allegedly signed by the humanitarian minister, she allegedly instructed the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer the sum to the account of one Oniyelu Bridget as grant for vulnerable groups in four states.

However, Madein explained that although her office received a request from the humanitarian ministry to make certain payments, her office did not act on it.

Edu, 37, the youngest minister in the President’s cabinet, subsequently said there were plans to tarnish her image adding that she won’t embezzle government funds.

Incidentally, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is presently probing Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Farouq, over alleged laundering of N37.1 billion during her tenure as a minister under the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement on Sunday, the information minister acknowledged the uproar over the development in the humanitarian ministry under Edu, saying that the “government is determined to unravel the truth”.

Idris said, “In light of recent events, the President has directed that a thorough and comprehensive investigation be conducted to ascertain the accuracy and validity of the reported details.

“The government is determined to unravel the truth as it relates to this matter, and assures that appropriate action will be taken to ensure that any breaches and infractions are identified and decisively punished, in line with the Administration’s commitment to public accountability and due process.”

The information minister said Nigerians would be informed on the progress of the investigation.

“We urge Nigerians to exercise patience as the investigation unfolds. The government is focused on ensuring a fair and unbiased process, and the findings will be communicated duly and transparently to the public,” he said.

In a related development, human rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has advised Edu to resign for allegedly betraying the public confidence reposed in her.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in a statement on Sunday, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to speed up the ongoing investigation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and charged all indicted persons to court.

The senior lawyer described as an “extremely embarrassing drama”, the circumstances surrounding Edu’s alleged involvement in the approval of N585,198,500.00 to be disbursed into a personal account.

Falana said the minister should stop insulting Nigerians, adding that she failed to deny that she gave approval for the funds to be paid to a private account instead of direct transfer to the beneficiaries’ accounts from the ministry’s.

He said: “It is interesting to note that the minister has not denied that she gave approval for the payment of the over half a billion naira to a private account in contravention of the extant Public Service Rules as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Act and the Penal Code applicable in the Federal Capital Territory.

“Instead of apologising to the Federal Government and people of Nigeria and calling it quits for betraying the confidence reposed in her, the Minister has arrogantly said that the N585.18 million fraud allegation is a mere fabrication by her detractors and an alleged attempt by mischief makers to undermine her ministry’s effort in fighting corruption and uplifting the needy.

“However, notwithstanding that the Accountant-General of the Federation has successfully frustrated the criminal diversion of the said sum of N585.18 million from public treasury, it is crystal clear from the leaked memorandum of the Minister that the offence of an attempt to commit a felony has already been completed.

“There can be no legal justification for the criminal diversion of the said sum of N585.18 million for disbursement to vulnerable people in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States since the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has collated the individual bank accounts of all the vulnerable people.”

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