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N585.18m: Charge indicted persons to court, Falana urges EFCC

….asks Edu to stop insulting Nigerians

Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to charge the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betty Edu and other indicted persons in the alleged diversion of N585.18 million to a private account to court.

The Chairman, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB), made the appeal in a statement on Monday.

He advised Betty Edu to stop insulting Nigerians, noting that it was crystal clear from the leaked memorandum of the Minister that the offence of an attempt to commit a felony had already been completed.

The outspoken lawyer emphasized that there can be no legal justification for the criminal diversion of the said sum of N585.18 million for disbursement to vulnerable people in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States since the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has collated the individual bank accounts of all the vulnerable people.

Read the full statement below:

“It is public knowledge that  the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betty Edu recently directed  the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to pay a whopping sum of N585.18 million to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States. Happily, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein rightly rejected the illegal directive and refused to pay the said sum of N585.18 million to the agent of the Minister.

“It is interesting to note that the Minister has not denied that she gave approval for the payment of the over half a billion Naira to a private account in contravention of the extant Public Service Rules as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Act and the Penal Code applicable in the Federal Capital Territory. Instead of apologising to the Federal Government and people of Nigeria and calling it quits for betraying the confidence reposed in her, the Minister has arrogantly said that the N585.18 million fraud allegation is a mere fabrication by her detractors and an alleged attempt by mischief makers to undermine her ministry’s effort in fighting corruption and uplifting the needy.

“However, notwithstanding that the Accountant-General of the Federation has successfully frustrated the criminal diversion of the said sum of N585.18  million from public treasury, it is crystal clear from the leaked memorandum of the Minister that the offence of an attempt to commit a felony has already been completed. There can be no legal justification for the criminal diversion of the said sum of N585.18 million for disbursement to vulnerable people in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos and Ogun States since the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has collated the individual bank accounts of all the vulnerable people.

“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this extremely embarrassing drama, we commend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the recovery of the sum of N37 billion meant for vulnerable people in Nigeria. We also call on the Commission to speed up the ongoing investigation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs with a view to charging all indicted persons before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory as soon as possible”.

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