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Sunday, February 25, 2024

EFCC grills Accountant General over N585.2m fraud linked to suspended humanitarian affairs minister

Oluwatoyin Madein faces extensive interrogation regarding an alleged financial irregularity involving Dr Betta Edu's ministry funds

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In a significant development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has subjected the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to intense interrogation over an alleged N585.2 million fraud tied to the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Betta Edu. The session took place at the EFCC’s headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, on Monday.

Details obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday revealed that Madein underwent over six hours of questioning and was subsequently released without any conditions in the evening. A credible source within the anti-graft agency disclosed that Madein faced queries related to the transfer of N585.2 million from the National Social Investment Office account to the UBA account of Bridget Oniyelu, the accountant of the Grants for Vulnerable Groups under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

“The Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, has been invited and interrogated by the commission. She was grilled for over six hours on Monday over the payment of N585.2 million from the National Social Investment Office account to the UBA account of Bridget Oniyelu, the accountant of the Grants for Vulnerable Groups under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,” stated the source. “The AGF was not detained and was released with no condition after providing a written explanation to the investigators during the interrogation. However, she told interrogators that she didn’t approve the memo from Minister Edu for the payment into a private account.”

The controversy revolves around a leaked memo indicating that Dr. Betta Edu, in December 2023, urged the Accountant General to transfer the funds from the National Social Investment Office account to the UBA account of Oniyelu. In response, the AGF issued a statement countering Edu’s claim, emphasizing that allocations were disbursed to self-accounting MDAs in line with the budget, and these MDAs were responsible for project implementation and associated payments.

Dr. Betta Edu, subjected to over 10 hours of EFCC questioning last week, was suspended on Monday, January 8, by President Bola Tinubu, amidst allegations of diverting humanitarian funds into a private account. Concurrently, Halima Shehu, the embattled Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, is under EFCC investigation for an alleged N44 billion cash fraud. The unfolding investigations reveal a complex web of financial mismanagement within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

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