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N3bn Scandal: Madein, Gbajabiamila, in fresh trouble



The scandal rocking the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has taken a new turn as the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, has been alleged to have approved the suspended Minister, Betta Edu, to remove 3 billion naira from the COVID-19 Palliative Fund for the verification of the National Social Register.

According to a leaked memo seen by Economic Confidential, the Minister had requested approval, which the Chief of Staff granted on behalf of President Bola Tinubu.

The leaked memo with reference number SH/COS/145/A/220 and dated 18th of September, 2023, was a reply to the Minister which was titled: “Conveyance of Approval; Re: Appeal to Use 3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira) from the COVID-19 Palliative Fund for the Verification of the National Social Register.”

In the memo, Gbajabiamila specifically asked the Minister to proceed with the transaction, even though the Economic Confidential could not confirm if there was a written approval from President Tinubu.

In recent weeks, the suspended Minister has been in the news for seeking to transfer 585 million naira meant for distribution to vulnerable Nigerians into a private account. She raised a memo requesting the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to send the said amount to the private account of one Oniyelu Bridget to prosecute the Ministry’s mandate in some states.

She was, therefore, suspended by President Tinubu and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation.

Meanwhile, Economic cOnfidential gathered that the Accountant General of the Federation, Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein, was quizzed by the EFCC on Monday night concerning the 585 million naira scandal and related matters.

Even though the AGF had disowned the Minister in a press statement and said she didn’t carry out the ‘illegal’ request, the Commission suspects that certain monies were transferred to some private accounts.

On the condition of anonymity, a top source at the anti-corruption agency told the Economic Confidential that the AGF had to be invited to clear certain loose ends in the transaction.

While the AGF, according to the source, is helping the EFCC with helpful information, the Commission suspects that similar suspicious transactions may have been going on in the past through some designated banks without public knowledge.

The source said the Commission will continue to interrogate the issues beyond the surface to clean up the entire Ministry and bring everyone involved in any wrongdoing to book.

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