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N44bn fraud at humanitarian affairs ministry tip of iceberg, says PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has stated that the N44 billion National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) fraud and the N585.2 million reportedly diverted to a private account under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is a tip of the iceberg of “the unprecedented treasury looting, unbridled stealing and plundering of resources going on in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.”

In a statement the PDP issued on Sunday, it said such looting and stealing have practically brought Nigeria’s economy to its knees.

The statement, signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, reads: “Is it not tragic and heartbreaking that a Minister entrusted with public funds to support millions of poor Nigerians who have been impoverished by the APC turned around to divert hundreds of millions of naira meant for the wellbeing of the poor?

“The continuing stay of Betta Edu as Minister is therefore provocative and amounts to stealing from a people and daring them to do their worst. It further confirms our Party’s position that the Tinubu-led APC government is a cesspit of corruption, a haven for thieves and treasury looters.

“Nigerians were shocked by reports of how Betta Edu and the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu, allegedly engaged in brazen looting of billions of Naira while Nigerians whom the funds are meant for are deprived and abandoned to excruciating hardship and misery.

“Equally disheartening is the reports of how Betta Edu allegedly directed the transfer of the N585.2 million NSIPA money into the private account of one of her fronts in clear violation of Chapter 7, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations, 2009, which expressly prohibits the payment of public money into a private account.

“For emphasis, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations, 2009 provides that ‘Personal money shall in no circumstances be paid into a government bank account, nor shall any public money be paid into a private bank account. An officer who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with a fraudulent intention.’

“The apparent fraudulent intention by Betta Edu in diverting public funds into a private account, an action which was appropriately declared illegal by the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, is consistent with APC’s character and proclivity for the plundering of public resources.

“The lack of remorse by the Minister, especially in her lame attempt to justify the illegal diversion of funds meant for poor Nigerians, is also consistent with the insensitivity, heartlessness, impunity and criminal audacity inherent in the APC administration.

“A very disturbing information in the public domain indicates that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs is allegedly working with two prominent APC officials in the Presidency and the National Assembly, who are alleged to be using Ministers and other officials of government to divert billions of naira to personal accounts.

“Additional information reveals that there are moves to use the suspended National Coordinator of NSIPA, Halima Shehu as a scapegoat so as to sweep the involvement of the Minister and the said APC leaders under the carpet.

“What Nigerians demand of President Tinubu at the moment is to demonstrate commitment to the fight against corruption by immediately sacking Betta Edu, hand her over for investigation, prosecution and take steps to recover the stolen N44 billion and channel the fund recovered towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.”

 

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