The Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, has summoned the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, to appear before it on Tuesday.
The Bureau, which was established to ensure the maintenance of high standards in the conduct of government business and to enforce the code of conduct for public officers as contained in Part I of the Third and Fifth schedules to the 1999 Constitution, as amended, summoned the Minister over the alleged involvement of his company in a N438million contract scandal.
The CCB, in a letter that was signed on behalf of its Chairman, Murtala Aliyu, by the Director, Investigation and Monitoring, Gwimi S.P, directed the Minister of Interior to appear at its headquarters in Abuja.
“The bureau is investigating a case of alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers in which your name featured prominently.
“Consequently, you are invited for an interview scheduled as follows:
“Date: Tuesday, 16th January, 2024. Time: 1100hrs prompt. Venue: CCB Headquarters on 5th Floor, Annex III, Phase I, Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja.
“This invitation is pursuant to the mandate and powers of the Bureau as enshrined in the Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph 3 (e) to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. Please be properly guided,” the letter read.
It will be recalled that a company, New Planet Projects, allegedly belonging to Tunji-Ojo, was listed as a beneficiary of a N585m contract payment scandal that led to the suspension of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu by President Bola Tinubu.
The company was one of the consultants awarded contracts worth N3billion by the suspended minister for the National Social Register contract.
The social register was created for cash transfers and other social investment programmes.
Edu had asked the Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein, to send public funds to a private account that belonged to Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola, identified as a project manager by the minister.
She subsequently approved the disbursement of the sum of N585,198,500.00 into a personal account.
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The suspended Minister allegedly approved funds for flight tickets and airport taxis for her team, from Abuja to Kogi State, even though the later has no airport.
It was further reported that New Planet Projects, which was incorporated by Tunji-Ojo, allegedly received N438 million as ‘consultancy fees’ from the suspended Minister who is currently under the radar of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
However, the Interior Minister had since debunked his alleged involvement with the company, insisting that he was neither a part of the day-to-day operations of the firm nor a signatory to its accounts.
“As I have always said, I came into public office with a commitment to base my service on sincerity of purpose and openness. I believe that Nigerians don’t deserve to be kept in the dark in terms of public office operations.
“And actually, I was shocked because the company in question was a company where I was a director about five years ago. I had resigned from my directorship.”
The Minister said he founded the company alongside his wife, adding that his resignation from the firm was owing to his political ambition.
He said: “I and my wife founded the company 15 years years ago. Well, in 2019, when I got to the House of Representatives, when I won election precisely, I made a change.
“I had resigned as director of the company to hold office.”
The Minister said he was only a shareholder of the company, which according to him was not a violation of the law.
“Of course, and to the best of my knowledge, the public service rule does not prohibit public officers from being shareholders,” Tunji-Ojo added while answering questions on Channels television.