N585m scandal: Edu released after hours of grilling, to report to EFCC daily

AFTER hours of grilling on Tuesday, January 9, the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, was released on bail.

She is expected back at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters in Abuja today, Wednesday, January 10, over her indictment in an alleged N585 million fraud.

The former minister arrived at the commission’s headquarters on Tuesday at about 11 a.m. and was released late in the evening after answering questions from EFCC interrogators.


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According to the anti-graft spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, in a chat with The ICIR, she is expected at the EFCC office daily till the end of the investigation.

“Yes, she went home last night, but she is expected this morning. She will report here every morning till we conclude our investigation,” Oyewale stated.

The ICIR reported that President Bola Tinubu suspended the embattled doctor-turned-politician on Monday, January 8, after public outrage against her alleged diversion of public funds amounting to N585 million.

Tinubu said his decision to suspend her was in line with his pledge and commitment to uphold integrity, transparency, and accountability in managing the commonwealth of Nigerians.

“The suspended minister is hereby directed to hand over to the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and she is further directed by the President to fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as they conduct their investigation, ” said the President.

Edu’s suspension followed criticisms that trailed her leaked letter instructing the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to pay N585 million into a private account managed by United Bank of Africa (UBA) and owned by Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.

The ICIR reported that Edu, through a statement by her media aide, Rasheed Zubair, confirmed the payment and said the fund was for the payment of grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.

She, however, described allegations of diverting the fund as blackmail.






     

     

    Edu claimed that Mojisola was the project Accountant for GVG from the ministry’s finance department, adding that it was legal for such an officer to be paid the fund.

    The ICIR reports that the claim contravenes Nigeria’s Public Sector Financial Regulation Act (2009).

    Section 713 of the Act (under Chapter Seven) states: “Personal money shall in no circumstances be paid into a government bank account, nor shall any public money be paid into a private bank account. An officer who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with fraudulent intention.”

    Edu was at the EFCC a day after the former minister of the ministry she led, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, submitted herself to the commission in Abuja for grilling over alleged abuse of office under former President Muhammadu Buhari.

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