Nigeria’s anti-graft police on Tuesday began probing Betta Edu, the suspended minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, over a controversy surrounding a recent financial transaction conducted by her office.
President Bola Tinubu suspended Edu Monday with immediate effect to facilitate a thorough investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the country’s primary anti-graft law enforcement agency, said presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale in a statement.
The suspended minister arrived at the EFCC’s headquarters Tuesday morning to respond to questioning by investigators, local media reported.
Edu faced severe criticism after allegedly instructing the transfer of more than 585.2 million naira (about 661,300 U.S. dollars) intended for disbursement to “vulnerable” citizens into the private bank account of a civil servant.
According to local media reports Monday, the minister was alleged to have issued a memo to the country’s accountant-general in late December 2023, directing the aforementioned amount to be deposited into the civil servant’s private bank account.
In light of these developments, Tinubu instructed the suspended minister to immediately hand over her duties to the permanent secretary of the ministry and to “fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as they carry out their investigation.”
The Nigerian leader also assigned a panel chaired by the coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance to conduct, among other functions, a comprehensive evaluation of the financial structure and framework of the country’s social investment programs.
Ngelale said that this initiative aligns with the president’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians.