President Bola Tinubu has ordered an investigation into an alleged payment of funds into a private account by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Mohammed Idris disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.
The order to probe was sequel to an alleged misappropriation of funds meant for palliative. The investigation aimed to ascertain the accuracy and validity of the information on the alleged misappropriation of N585 million by the ministry.
Betta Edu, humanitarian affairs minister, came under criticism after a leaked memo dated December 20, 2023, revealed that she directed the accountant-general of the federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585 million to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant of Grants for Vulnerable Groups.
In the statement personally signed by the Minister, he stressed that Tinubu’s administration is committed to transparency and has zero tolerance for corruption. “We are aware of the narratives circulating widely and wish to assure Nigerians that the government takes these issues most seriously.
“The Federal Government, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, is transparent and accountable to the people. It is committed to ensuring that public funds are allocated and utilised effectively and efficiently to address the needs of Nigerians,” he said.
The minister said the federal government was determined to unravel the truth as it related to the matter. Idris said that his ministry acknowledged the concerns raised by the public over the allegation.
He added that the order by the president was to ascertain the accuracy and validity of the reported details. Idris assured that appropriate action would be taken to ensure that any breaches and infractions were identified and decisively punished, in line with the administration’s commitment to public accountability and due process.
The Minister, however, cautioned against the dissemination of unverified claims by the people. “The Ministry is committed to providing timely updates to keep Nigerians informed about 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,” he said. Idris assured that the findings would be communicated duly and transparently to the public.
President Tinubu recently approved the suspension and investigation of Halima Shehu, National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Program Agency (NSIPA), over alleged financial impropriety of about N30 billion.
Shehu, however, reportedly told her investigators that she moved the N30 billion she is accused of embezzling to other accounts because the minister, Dr. Edu, wanted to embezzle it. She reportedly said that Edu had already misappropriated N585 million by transferring the sum to a private bank account.
In a letter that has since leaked to the public, Edu asked the AGF to transfer N585 million to the said private bank account in UBA, belonging to one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola. Reacting, Edu said that the N585 million grant for vulnerable groups was approved, adding that the funds were meant to be grants for vulnerable groups.
She said that the transfer of the N585 million followed due process. According to the minister, Mojisola, whose bank account was stated to receive the payment, is the project accountant for the Grants for Vulnerable Groups (GVG) scheme.