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Latest update on NPower, Betta Edu, Humanitarian Ministry Scandal for Jan 18, 2024




EFCC Quizzes AGF Over N585 Million Humanitarian Ministry Scandal

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has initiated an inquiry into the alleged involvement of the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, in a N585.2 million fraud case related to the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu.

According to reports from Punch Newspaper, EFCC investigators conducted the questioning of the AGF on Monday at the anti-graft agency’s headquarters in Jabi, Abuja. Madein underwent more than six hours of interrogation and was subsequently released without any conditions later in the evening.

The focus of the inquiry was the transfer of N585.2 million in public funds from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs into the personal bank account of a government official, as confirmed by a credible anti-graft source.

Betta Edu: Tinubu approved N3bn for register verification

Indications have emerged that President Bola Tinubu may have indeed directed Femi Gbajabiamila, the chief Of staff, to sign the President’s memo, authorising Betta Edu, the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Reduction, to spend from the COVID palliative fund, contrary to speculation that the funds were diverted.

A memo sighted by BusinessDay from the Chief of the Staff to the President has revealed that President Bola Tinubu approved the now suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Betta Edu, for the release of N3 billion to verify the National Social Register, which was initially compiled under former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The leaked memo showed that the President gave his assent on the 14 of September , 2023

The social register had been created for cash transfers and other social investment programmes.

Alleged N438m contract: CCB invites Interior Minister

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has summoned Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, concerning allegations that his company, New Planet Projects, was involved in a controversial N438 million contract with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. On Monday, January 15, it was revealed that the CCB’s invitation to the minister is part of an ongoing investigation into possible violations of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

The invitation requires the minister to appear before the CCB’s investigating committee on January 16, 2024, at the CCB headquarters within the Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja. The letter, signed on behalf of CCB Chairman Muritala Aliyu by Director of Investigation and Monitoring Gwimi S.P., emphasizes that the Bureau is acting within its mandate and powers as outlined in the Third Schedule, Part 1, 3 (e) of the 1999 Constitution.

The invitation letter states, “The bureau is investigating a case of alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers in which your name featured prominently. Consequently, you are invited for an interview scheduled as follows:

Date: Tuesday, 16th January 2024. Time: 1100hrs prompt. Venue: CCB Headquarters on 5th Floor, Annex III, Phase I, Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja.

This invitation is pursuant to the mandate and powers of the Bureau as enshrined in the Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph 3 (e) to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. Please be properly guided.”

An official from the CCB, confirming the development, stated that the minister is expected to engage with the agency’s investigators on Tuesday to assist in determining whether or not he violated relevant rules.

Claim of Expectations Regarding Betta Edu’s Probe

Muhammad Alhaji Yakubu, the Convener of Arewa Think Tank, asserted that some individuals believed that the close relationship between the suspended Minister, Betta Edu, and President Bola Tinubu would shield her from a thorough investigation. Yakubu clarified that Tinubu had set job targets and performance guidelines for ministers, and Edu’s suspension aimed to facilitate a comprehensive investigation into allegations of financial impropriety. He noted that Edu, along with the national coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, were initially thought to be untouchable due to their proximity to Tinubu.

Tinubu approves 6-man panel to reform NSIPA programmes

After the suspension of the four programs under the National Social Investment Programmes Agency (NSIPA) for a six-week period, President Bola Tinubu has granted approval for the establishment of a Special Presidential Panel. According to a statement released on Saturday, January 13, by the special adviser on media and publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, this panel will be led by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Honourable Minister of Finance, Wale Edun.

The primary responsibility of the Special Presidential Panel, as outlined in the statement, is to conduct an immediate and thorough review and audit of the existing financial frameworks and policy guidelines of the social investment programs. The objective is to implement a complete re-engineering of the financial architecture of the programs, incorporating detailed modifications to the procedures guiding their implementation moving forward.

The Special Presidential Panel comprises ministers representing strategic sectors, ensuring a multi-disciplinary approach to the reform effort. The panel’s membership includes:

  1. Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance – Chairman
  2. Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare – Member
  3. Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning – Member
  4. Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation – Member
  5. Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy – Member
  6. Honourable Minister of State for Youth – Member

President Tinubu expresses the anticipation that this Special Presidential Panel will restore lost public confidence in these crucial programs over the years. The goal is to usher in a new era of operation based on open and accountable governance frameworks that will be resistant to abuse and incompetence, exclusively benefiting disadvantaged households across the nation.


Tinubu Halts N-Power and Three Other NSIPA Programs

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has suspended all initiatives managed by the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), including N-Power, as reported by IDOMAVOICE.

This decision is a response to an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct in the administration of the agency and its programs.

NSIPA oversees programs such as the renowned N-Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

Reports surfacing on Friday indicate that the initial suspension of these programs is slated to endure for six weeks.

A statement attributed to the Director of Information, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Segun Imohiosen, highlights President Tinubu’s significant concerns regarding operational deficiencies and irregularities in the distribution of payments to the beneficiaries of these programs.

Femi Pedro Denies Seeking Second Chance for Suspended Minister Betta Edu

Femi Pedro, a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, has denied making a statement wherein he allegedly pleaded with Nigerians to grant a second chance to the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.

President Bola Tinubu suspended Edu following the emergence of a memo in which she requested the transfer of N585 million to a private account from the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein.

Despite the purported statement claiming Pedro’s plea for a second chance, he refuted the assertion, stating that Edu would learn from her mistakes.

EFCC Summons 20 Directors and Officials from Humanitarian Ministry

In a significant development in the investigation into the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has summoned 20 senior directors and officials of the ministry for questioning.

Several officials reportedly underwent interrogation at the EFCC headquarters on Thursday, following a comprehensive investigation report and recommendations submitted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday.

A source revealed that the EFCC is probing officials in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, with about 20 director-generals and civil servants being interrogated as part of the ongoing investigation.