Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior, has denied any involvement in New Planet Project Limited’s N438.1 million consultant contract with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
Chronicle NG reports that President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, directed the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, to investigate all financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
Dr. Betta Edu was the minister in charge of the ministry until she was suspended by the president on Monday.
Edu faced criticism after a leaked memo on December 20, 2023, revealed that she directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585 million to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups.
However, several media outlets indicate that Edu allegedly paid N438.1 million to a company owned by Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior for consultation services.
“The company, New Planet Project Limited, was one of the numerous consultants awarded contracts worth N3 billion given out by the suspended minister for the National Social Register contract,” it stated.
Tunji-Ojo reacted by revealing on Channels TV Politics Today on Monday night that he created the company ten years ago but quit as a director in 2019 to run for the House of Representatives.
The Minister of Interior, who termed the story disturbing, stated that he is only a shareholder in New Planet Project Limited and has no involvement in its day-to-day operations.
He said, “I have to say this; I saw it, and I was shocked because the company in question was a company where I was the director.
“About five years ago, I resigned my directorship. Yes, I founded the company 10 years ago. In 2019, when I got to the House of Representatives, when I won the election precisely, I resigned. I resigned on February 4, 2019 with a Certified True Copy of Corporate Affairs Commission as far back as 2019 to prove this.”
Tunji-Ojo, who stated that he entered public office knowing full well that Nigerians would ask questions, directed relevant agencies to investigate the contract processes.
Tunji-Ojo added, “I do not run the company. I don’t have any knowledge of the contract. I am not a signatory to any account. I am not a director of the company.
“The company is a limited liability company, which is a private entity. So if the company is a private entity, of course, I am still a shareholder, and to the best of my knowledge, the public service rule does not prohibit public officers from being shareholders.
“What the public service rule says is that you cannot be a director, of which I resigned about five years ago.
“I have no business with it—absolutely no business. I am not involved in the day-to-day running of the company. I do not pursue jobs for the company. I do not bid for the company. I am not a signatory to the company’s account. I am not involved.
“So the company is an entity on its own. If so, the question should be: was the job given to the company? If the answer is yes, Then the question is: did they follow due process? It is a yes. Did the company deliver on the job? If it’s a yes, Then number three is that they did deliver in line with the agreement of the contract. If it is a no, then they should be sanctioned by the book.”