Leaked memo shows Gbajabiamila ‘released’ ₦3b COVID fund to Betta Edu
One week after her suspension, a leaked memo indicated that the president approved the release of ₦3 billion for which Edu is being investigated among other allegations.
A leaked memo allegedly emanating from the Office of the Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, indicated that the president released ₦3 billion to Edu for the verification of the National Social Register.
The memo showed that the president directed Gbajabiamila to approve the release of the fund on September 14, 2023.
The social register compiled during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari was created for cash transfers and other social investment programmes.
However, the alleged misappropriation of the fund has been one of the controversies and allegations of financial wrongdoings against Edu and her ministry, as nine companies allegedly secured contracts from the fund.
Subsequently, Tinubu suspended the minister over an alleged ₦585m scandal in her ministry and ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to “Conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as one or more agencies thereunder.”
However, one week after her suspension, a leaked memo, which has now gone viral, indicated the president approved the release of ₦3 billion for which the suspended minister is being investigated among other allegations.
The memo signed by Gbajabiamila reads, “President has approved the expenditure of N3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira) only, from the Covid-19 Palliative Fund for verification of the National Social Register.
“Please accept the assurance of my highest regards.”
However, there has been an insinuation that the president was not aware of the release of the ₦3 billion fund with sources in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs saying Gbajabiamila has no business approving the release of funds to anyone.
To confirm the veracity of this claim, this writer called and sent a message to the president’s spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, but he did not respond to the message.
Meanwhile, Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, has called for restraints on the matter, saying the EFCC is already doing something about the memo that allegedly emanated from the office of the Chief of Staff.
In an interview with ThePunch, Onanuga said, “The President has directed the EFCC to investigate the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and all these matters are under investigation already.
“I am sure that the EFCC had seen that memo from the Office of the Chief of Staff and they are doing something about these findings.”
He urged Nigerians to be patient, adding that when the EFCC finalises its finding, the president would act on the result of the investigation.