By Our Correspondents
The decision of President Bola Tinubu to probe the financial dealings in the National Social Investment Programmes Agency (NSIP) has triggered panic among some cabinet Ministers and cronies of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Daily Times investigation, Sunday night, revealed that the affected serving Ministers and Buhari’s received various sums from NSIP funds through fictitious contract.
President Tinubu had, at the weekend suspended the four programmes captured in the NSIP mandate for six weeks to allow for unhindered investigation into the operations of agency.
The President also set up a six-member investigative panel headed by the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun who is also the Coordinating Minister of the Economy.
Other members of the panel include
Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Ali Pate; Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris; Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani; and Honourable Minister of State for Youth, Ayodele Olawande.
Further investigation revealed that one of those said to be lobbying members of the panel directly or through proxies, was the Interior Minister, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.
It was reported that New Planet Project Limited, a company linked to Tunji-Ojo, received N438 million from a N3 billion fund earmarked for the National Social Register.
The contract was one of the several payments made to a number of companies by the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.
Other beneficiaries are an Accounting firm which got N419.5million and a consultancy firm said to have received N558.8 million.
Other similarly payments to the tune of N277 million were made to four different companies while two other firms received N275 million each. None of the companies had denied receiving the payments.
Also said to be complicit were a number of Buhari’s cronies alleged to have received various sums from the immediate past Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar-Farouq under questionable circumstances.
Edu and Umar-Farouq are currently being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for their involvement in the alleged multi- billion fraud in the ministry.
Similarly, the former National Coordinator of (NSIP), Halima Shehu is also being grilled by the anti graft agency for her involvement in the alleged theft of N44.8 billion belonging to the agency.
Multiple reports indicated that looting
at the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry and NSIP programmes started under the Buhari administration.
The funds were looted under the N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, Home Grown School Feeding Programme and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP). President Tinubu had suspended all the programmes for six weeks.
A Presidency source on Sunday to Daily Times that the Edun panel might begin sitting this week.