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Why I allowed N585 million transfer into private account- Minister Edu



By Hannah Nathan, Warri

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is embroiled in an alleged financial corruption controversy that may not be ended yet. According to a document that has surfaced, Minister Edu Betta may have transferred N585,198,500.00 into a personal account.

In a widely circulated document addressed to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and signed by Edu, the Minister directed that N585,198,500.00 be paid to one Oniyelu Bridget.

The document additionally demonstrated that N585.198 million, the award intended for vulnerable communities in the states of Lagos, Ogun, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom, was deposited into Oniyelu’s account.

But in response to the event, Minister Rasheed Zubair’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity stated Aid payment of N585.198 million to the disadvantaged group was made by the law.

According to him, the reason the award was paid to Oniyelu Bridget’s account is that the fellow is currently the Project Accountant for Grants for Vulnerable Groups.

He clarified that the N585.198 million award was intended to support vulnerable populations in the states of Lagos, Ogun, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom.

“For the avoidance, the said N585m was approved, and it is meant to implement grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.

“We must note that GVG was first launched in Kogi State, where recipients testified. Akwa Ibom and Cross River were launched in December 2023. Kogi already happened in November, and others will be launched in the coming weeks.

“The general public is invited to note that the Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups is one of the social intervention schemes of the Federal Government, which the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is implementing.

“Oniyelu Bridget is the Project Accountant for GVG from the Department of Finance, and it is legal in civil service for a staff, the project accountant, to be paid and use the same funds legally and retire the same with all receipts and evidence after the project or programme is completed”, he stated.

Nigerians expressed confusion on social media about the development, questioning why a sizable portion of the federal government’s funds would be transferred to a single person’s account.

According to information obtained, public sector financial regulations from 2009 forbid paying public monies to a private individual’s account.

The law’s Section 713 declares that “neither public nor personal funds may under any circumstances be deposited into a private or government bank account.” When an official deposits public funds into a personal account, it is considered that they did so to deceive.

Remember that just four days ago, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu removed Halima Shehu, the National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Program Agency, an agency under Edu, over purported financial theft.

As a result, the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, arrested and interrogated Halima Shehu on an alleged N44 billion scam.

After a probe, the EFCC blocked N30 billion that had been transferred from NSIPA’s accounts.

Comparably, the EFCC invited Sadiya Umar-Farouq, a former minister of the ministry, to testify about a financial scam that was purportedly orchestrated by one contractor, James Okwete.

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