Oluwatoyin Madein, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), has disassociated herself and her office from the unauthorized transfer of N585.2 million to a private account made by Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Minister has come under fire for blatantly breaking Nigeria’s 2009 Financial Regulations, which strongly focus on keeping personal and public funds separate during official business.

The AGF’s office stated that Minister Edu blatantly violates a part of Nigerian laws that states, “Personal money shall in no circumstances be paid into a government bank account, nor shall any public money be paid into a private account.”

“Any officer who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with fraudulent intention,” the law states further.

The law requires this to stop fraud in transactions involving the government.

However, Mrs Edu moved more than N500 million into a private account in defiance of this widely held legal view.

The payment of N585.2 million into a private account is lawful in the nation’s civil service, according to Mrs Edu’s defence of the act last Friday through her media assistant, Rasheed Zubair. This is true even though ZINGTIE could not locate the specific portion of the law the Minister is citing.

“In civil service, it is legal for a staff, the project accountant, to be paid and use the same funds legally and retire same with all receipts and evidence after the project or program is completed,” Zubair stated.

In response, the federation’s Accountant General clarified through her Director of Press, Bawa Mokwa, that her office does not approve payments for project and program implementation on behalf of any Department, Ministry, or Agency of government.

According to her, funds are disbursed to self-accounting MDAs in accordance with the budget, and these MDAs are in charge of carrying out their programs and making the necessary payments.

She went on to say that even though her office got the request from the Ministry, it still didn’t process the money.

However, the Ministry was instructed on how to proceed in accordance with the established payment procedure for making such payments.

“In such situations, payments are usually processed by the affected Ministries as self-accounting entities and no bulk payment is supposed to be made to an individual’s account in the name of the Project Accountant.

“Such payment should be sent to the beneficiaries through their verified bank accounts.”

Nonetheless, Dr Madein was adamant about maintaining the values of transparency and accountability in the administration of public funds.

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