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Edu saga: Ministers were enlightened on procurement during retreat, says Joe Abah

 

Ministers participated in sessions focused on the
procurement process during a retreat held in November, says Joe Abah, a former
director-general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR).

 

Abah said this following the alleged corruption at the
ministry of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation.

 

Betta Edu, the suspended minister of humanitarian affairs,
has come under intense scrutiny after a memo surfaced wherein she asked
Oluwatoyin Madein, accountant-general of the federation, to transfer N585
million to a private account.

 

The suspended official also approved funds for flight
tickets and airport taxis for the ministry’s staff to Kogi, a state with no
airport.

 

The public sector financial regulations Act of 2009
prohibits the payment of public funds to the account of a private individual.

 

Section 713 of the law states 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 fraudulent intention”.

 

Amid the controversy, a leaked document showed that New
Planet Project Limited, a company founded by Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, minister of
interior, got a N438 million consultancy contract from the ministry.

 

In a post on X on Tuesday, Osita Chidoka, former minister of
aviation, said the funds transfer request by Edu to the accountant-general is
“only a reflection of the systemic failure” in the nation’s public service.

 

Chidoka claimed that the retreat for ministers did not
address “serious governance issues”.

 

“It is evident that the ministerial retreat did not deal
with serious governance issues,” he said.

 

He was, however, countered by Abah, who said he moderated
the first day of the retreat and that the ministers were enlightened on salient
governance issues.

 

 “No o, Honourable
Minister @osita_chidoka. We told them everything at the retreat o. I moderated
the whole of the first day and Mr President got a message across to me not to
rush the sessions. We told them everything and didn’t finish until 8pm,” he
wrote.

 

Abah attached the programme of the event to his response.

 

In the programme, the retreat covered topics related to
governance.

 

The sessions included: Roles and responsibilities of
ministers, handled by Anyim Pius Anyim, former president of the senate and
ex-secretary to the government of the federation; and management of the federal
executive council: processes and procedures, facilitated by Oladapo Afolabi,
former head of the civil service of the federation.

 

Other sessions were administrative processes in the civil
service, relationships between the ministers, permanent secretaries and CEOs of
parastatals, covered by Folasade Yemi-Esan, head of the civil service of the
federation; financial regulations and fiscal management: process and
procedures, led by Madein; and procurement processes in the public service,
handled by Emeka Ezeh, CEO of TBP Solutions Ltd.

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