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Interior minister Olubunmi Ojo confirms wife’s company received N438m from Betta Edu

Interior minister Olubunmi Ojo confirms wife’s company received N438m from Betta Edu

Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has admitted that a company he co-owned with his wife received payment of N438 million from the Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation minister Betta Edu, who was suspended for illegally requesting to wire public funds into a private account.

Mr Tunji-Ojo, in an interview with Channels TV on Monday, reacted to a leaked memo showing his company got a contract from the office of his suspended colleague, Ms Edu.

“Yes, I founded the company (Planet Projects LTD) 15 years ago,” Tunji-Ojo admitted when confronted that he and his wife own the company that benefited from contract allocation from Ms Edu’s ministry. “But in 2019, when I won election, I resigned as director of the company almost five years ago.”

“I’m not a director. I resigned as far back as 2019 and CAC certified it,” Mr Tunji-Ojo said, showing his interviewer a document. Peoples Gazette cannot verify the content of the document.

When confronted that he could have used his office to influence a contract for a company in which he is a shareholder in the ministry of his colleague, Mr Tunji-Ojo said public service rules do not prohibit him from being a shareholder.

“How could I have done that? I’m minister of interior not minister of humanitarian. On what basis will I do that? Is a company not entitled to bid for anything? Tunji-Ojo said.

“Of course, to the best of my knowledge, public service rules do not prohibit public officers from being shareholders. What public service rules say is that you cannot be a director of which I had resigned about five years ago,” he added.

Tunji-Ojo further said, “The question should be, if the company was given a job, did they do the job? Was the job validly awarded?”

This comes as President Bola Tinubu suspended on Monday Ms Edu amidst public outrage over her plot to divert public funds into private a account.

Last December, Ms Edu wrote the office of the accountant-general, demanding that N585 million earmarked to reduce poverty of vulnerable citizens in Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Lagos, and Ogun states be paid into the UBA account — 2003682151— of one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.

Ms Edu admitted authoring the memo requesting that N585 million be paid into a private account but claimed allegations against her were plotted by fraudulent forces she has exposed.

The accountant-general, Oluwatoyin Madein, in a statement on Saturday, said Ms Edu flouted financial regulations by requesting that funds be wired into a private account.

“Mrs Madein explained that although her Office received the said request from the Ministry, it did not carry out the payment. The Ministry (Mrs Edu’s) was, however, advised on the appropriate steps to take in making such payments in line with the established payment procedure.”  The Economic Financial Crimes Commission said Ms Edu has been invited for investigation over her illegal request for N585 million for vulnerable people to be paid into a private account.


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