Economy

Revealed: How firms linked to Tunji-Ojo, others got N3bn diverted from COVID fund

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A leaked memo sent by Femi Gbajabiamila, chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, has shown that Betta Edu, the suspended minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, received N3 billion of COVID-19 funds for the verification of the national social register.

In the memo dated September 18, 2023 with reference number SH/145/A/220, Gbajabiamila, informed Edu that her request to obtain N3 billion from the COVID-19 funds had been approved by the president.

“Please be informed that Mr. President has approved the expenditure of N3,000,000,000.00 (three billion naira) only, from the Covid-19 Palliative Fund for verification of the National Social Register,” Gbajabiamila wrote.

“Please accept the assurance of my highest regards.”

The N3 billion was disbursed to nine companies, including one linked to Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, minister of interior. The minister said he resigned from the company in 2019.

Edu’s approval came about two months after the National Economic Council (NEC), presided by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, dropped the social register compiled under Muhammadu Buhari, immediate past president, for lacking credibility.

Leaked memo

CCB invites Tunji-Ojo over N438m contract

Meanwhile, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) yesterday, said it has begun an investigation into the alleged breach of the code of conduct for public officers by Tunji-Ojo, the minister of interior.

In a statement on Monday, Veronica Kato, CCB spokesperson, said the minister is expected to appear at the bureau headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, January 16.

“The bureau’s invitation is hinged on its mandate and powers as enshrined in the Third Schedule, Part 1, 3 (e) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” Kato said.

Recently, a leaked document showed that New Planet Project Limited, a company founded by Tunji-Ojo got a N438 million consultancy contract from the ministry of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation.

The minister, who denied any wrongdoing, had said he resigned from the company in February 2019 when he was elected as a lawmaker in the house of representatives.

The company was registered on March 3, 2009, at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) – 10 years before he was first elected as a member of the house of representatives.

The minister said he is no longer one of the directors of the company but admitted that he is still a shareholder.

President Bola Tinubu suspended Betta Edu as the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation over the controversy.

 

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