Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Tuesday, was sighted at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He was spotted amid the controversy over N438.1million the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation paid to New Planet Project Limited, a company in which he’s a shareholder.
Reports say New Planet Project Limited was one of the consultants awarded contracts from the N3billion the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, approved for the National Social Register contract.
The social register was created for cash transfers and other social investment programmes.
On Monday, President Bola Tinubu suspended Edu following outrage over the controversial payment of N585 million into a private account in violation of the constitution.
Also, there have been calls on President Tinubu to probe the allegations levelled against Tunji-Ojo.
But while speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Tunji-Ojo said he had resigned his directorship in 2019 when he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives.
According to him, “I’ve always said I came into public office with the commitment to base my service on sincerity of purpose and openness, obviously because I believe that Nigerians deserve to know and they don’t deserve to be kept in the dark in terms of public office operations. I have to say this very clearly. I saw it and actually I was shocked because the company in question was a company where I was a director.
“And about five years ago, I had resigned my directorship over five years ago. Yes, I founded the company fifteen years ago but in 2019 when I got to the House of Reps, when I won election precisely, I did a change… this is it, certified true copy dated 2019, almost five years ago. I had resigned as director of the company. So I’m not a director. I resigned 1st of February 2019.
“I’m not responsible for the updating of CAC website and it’s not my responsibility to update the website. But what is important and I can say that this is certified true copy that you can see there. That’s dated 2019. I came into public office knowing full well that Nigerians will ask questions.
“I do not run the company. I don’t have knowledge of that. I’m not. I’m not a signatory to any account. I’m not a director of the company. I’m not involved in the day to day running of the organisation and the company is a limited liability company which is a private entity. I’m not a director.
“How could I have done that? I’m minister of Interior, I am not Minister of Humanitarian.
On what basis will I do that? Is the company not entitled to bid for anything? I am not minister of humanitarian. I am minister of interior. This company can never work under interior because there will be conflict of interest. That would be abuse of office. I never did that. And the company is a private entity.
“Of course (I am still a shareholder in the company) and to the best of my knowledge, public service rule does not prohibit public officers from being shareholders. What public service rules say is that you cannot be a director of which I’ve resigned about five years ago.”