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Betta Edu: Tunji-Ojo didn’t flout any rule on contract– Shehu Sani



Former lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, has thrown his weight behind the Minister of Interior, Hon. Tunji-Ojo over link with embattled Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation who have been suspended over financial impropriety.

Ms. Edu had awarded contracts to Hon. Tunji Ojo’s company, New Planet Project Ltd, which he had resigned from, as well as other companies, some of which were unregistered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) raising concern of fraud and illegality.

She’s undergoing interrogation at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Tunji-Ojo is also being pressured to step down with many commentators saying he has flouted the Public Service Rules which barred public servants from being awarded contracts or contracting any business except farming.

But the Minister while speaking on television explained that he had resigned since 2009 from the company.

“Almost five years ago, I resigned as director of the company, so I’m not a director. I resigned on 1st of February, 2009, you can go to the back,” the minister had said.

“Going by the facts presented by Hon Ojo (Tunji-Ojo), he had since 2019 resigned from the company that was mentioned as beneficiary,” said Shehu Sani, former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central, who has always commented on national issues.

Sani stressed that it “could have been a conflict of interest if he hadn’t resigned.

“There is no law that says public officials must sell all their shares when they assume public office,” Sani who has always spoken about law and justice added.

Sani, according to THE WHISTLER, insisted the minister flouted no law

Palliative Fraud: ‘Tunji-Ojo Must Go’ — PDP Demands Prosecution Of Interior Minister Over Betta Edu Contract

The former lawmaker’s position aligns with the 2008 Federal Service Rules on Chapter 4 which states that “Public officers are not prohibited from holding shares in both public and private companies operating in Nigeria or abroad except that they must not be Directors in private companies, and may only be Directors in public companies if nominated by Government.”

The senator further said it’s “not his ministry (that awarded contracts), and companies have the right to pursue businesses anywhere.

“Edu’s case is very clear and can’t be equated with that of a company associated with Hon Ojo.

“Legally, he can’t be held to account on this matter.

“Let’s not be distracted,” Sani said.

“The extant provision of the law under the 1999 Constitution is that anybody who is a public servant cannot engage in any business other than farming,” said Nelson Kebordih, a senior lawyer whose interest is in public policy.

He said the implication of the law is “that a person must be in active control and directorship of the company in the management of any enterprise.

“You are permitted to own shares because owning a share does not put you in the day-to-day management of the company or any enterprise.

“It is the directorship of the company that is an issue.

“If he (Tunji-Ojo) has resigned from being a director, the law does not stop him from owning shares in the company,” he stated.

President Bola Tinubu has summoned Interior Minister, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo to the Presidential Villa over a N438.1 million contract linked to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

This summons came amidst a brewing controversy encircling the minister and his suspended counterpart, Betta Edu.

Edu, who was suspended on Monday and is facing interrogation at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had awarded several contracts to companies including New Planet Projects Ltd owned by Tunji-Ojo.

Tunji-Ojo denied any involvement during the contract awards on Monday while speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

The President had directed the EFCC to investigate all financial dealings awarded by Edu.

Edu’s ordeal began when he directed that N585 million should be paid into a private account owned by an individual linked to the ministry’s projects.

However, while appearing on Channels, Tunji-Ojo claimed he had resigned from the directorship of New Planet Projects Ltd in 2019.

He emphasised his non-involvement in the day-to-day operations and stressed compliance with public service regulations.

While asserting his status as a shareholder, Tunji-Ojo urged investigative agencies to thoroughly examine the contract processes and ensure adherence to due diligence.

“The company, New Planet Project Limited was one of the numerous consultants awarded contracts from N3 billion given out by the suspended minister for the National Social Register contract,” he had said.

“I have no business with it, absolutely no business. Because I am not involved in the day-to-day running of the company. I do not pursue jobs for the company. I do not bid for the company. I am not a signatory to the company’s account. I am not involved.

“So the company is an entity on its own. If then, the question should be was the job given to the company? If the answer is yes.

“Then the question is did they follow due process? It is a yes. Did the company deliver on the job? If it’s a yes.

“Then number three is that they did deliver in line with the agreement of the contract? If it is a no, then they should be sanctioned by the book”.

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