Monday , 26 February 2024

Alleged N585 Million Scandal : Fund for Vulnerable Groups in Four States was Approved through due Process, Says Betta

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation notes with dismay, on a memo from the Ministry to the Accountant-General of the Federation approving for payment, of the sum of N585,189,500.00 Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups for four states, which is currently being circulated in the social media.

It is glaring that the same sponsored disgruntled elements in the past few days have been trying to smear the Honourable Minister, Dr Betta Edu, and stain her integrity because she alerted the Federal Government attention to the ongoing 44.8 Billion Fraud in NSIPA. These elements have been trying to link her to a phantom fraud and are behind this latest misadventure.

However, this latest vile effort of theirs is another infantile blackmail doomed for evisceration.
For the avoidance, the said N585,198,500.00 was approved, and it is meant for the implementation of Grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states. We must, however, note that GVG was first launched in the Kogi state where recipients testified.

Akwa Ibom and Cross River were launched in December 2023, Kogi already happened in November, and others will be launched in the coming weeks.

The general public is invited to note that the Renewed Hope Grant for Vulnerable Groups is one of the social intervention schemes of the federal government, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. Oniyelu Bridget is the Project Accountant for GVG from the Department of Finance and it is Legal in civil service for a staff, the Project accountant to be paid and use same funds legally and retire same with all receipts and evidence after project or Program is completed.

The evil motive of the mischief-makers behind the circulation of the memo is well-known and should be ignored. Of note is the fact that since assumption of duty about Five months ago, the Minister has religiously visited different parts of the country like Borno, Zamfara, Niger, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa, FCT, Lagos Cross River, etc and this is done to ensure she delivers on her mandate and she has remained focused, unbiased and committed to duty.

See Details
1 No ministry keeps accounts with commercial banks anymore after the Nation adopted TSA (Treasury Single Account).

2.MDAs have their various accounts with the CBN.

3 The OAGF processes payments based on the mandates on the accounts and the mandates of the MDAs as approved. They do not audit. It is the Auditor General that audits and CBN disburses payment/funds.

4.Since there are no accounts of MDAs in commercial banks, payments will be made to corporate or individual accounts depending on the type of payments.

5.In the case of the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry, most of the beneficiaries of their services and interventions do not hold nor operate bank accounts.

(Please refer to the time the NASS members and some Northern Governors were trying to explain how and why the region is heavily under-banked. Recall also Mallan el-Rufai’s explanation of people’s plight in the wake of Meffy’s Naira confiscation that about 60% or more of Kaduna residents do not have any banks close to them and some have to travel for hours to get to any bank as all their transactions are cash based).

6.The beneficiaries of the ministry require cash payment in most situations, hence the cash must move from the government (CBN) to private accounts first for onward distribution or disbursement – not a tidy or decent arrangement and that is where the CBN, finance ministry, and banks need to work out a solution to stem the huge corruption that is possible under this process.

7.In the case of the N 44B the government official needed the President’s ascent to release those funds but from what we have read, this process or protocol was violated as it seems the President never approved the movement.

8.From verifiable document the Minister Got approval for the N500m+ the minister needs and got the President’s assent, which may just be fine.

9.Our country has birthed many tech solutions and I believe we can also look into this and come up with a solution that will eliminate this crude means of distributing money as it leaves loopholes for corruption.

10.Even as we work on the solution, let us remember that the country with the cheapest and most sophisticated IT solutions in the world – India, still disburses money solutions like this via cash in many instances.

This does not in any way condone corrupt practices. We should fix our system to prevent such unreasonable loopholes.

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