Humanitarian Ministry Scandal: Tunji-Ojo’s Claim Unacceptable

The explanation given by Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, over the allegation of his company receiving N438 million in ‘consultancy fees’ from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is unacceptable.

Development Diaries reports that Tunji-Ojo has distanced himself from claims of owning a company awarded a contract by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

According to certain sources, the minister’s purportedly owned company received N438 million in ‘consultancy fees’ from the suspended Minister of the aforementioned ministry, Betta Edu.

Olubunmi, however, has denied being the company’s owner.

In an interview with Channels TV, the minister said he is only a shareholder of the company, ‘which is not in violation of the law’.

But, according to section one of the fifth schedule of Nigeria’s constitution, a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.

In explaining this paragraph, the federal government’s Explanatory Manual on The Code of Conduct for Public Officers (CCPO) reads:

‘A public officer shall not hold shares or have any other interest in a company, partnership or other body directly or through another person, if the holding of those shares or having that interest will result in a conflict with the officer’s official duties’.

‘However, in a situation where the shareholdings or interest in the company was in existence before the officer’s employment, election or appointment to a public office, the officer shall declare such shareholding/interest and recuse himself from participating in any decision-making process involving that company, partnership or other body where he holds shares or has an interest’.

One of the primary reasons government officials should refrain from using their private companies to bid for government contracts is the inherent conflict of interest.

When public servants have a personal stake in the outcome of a government contract, their decision-making process may be compromised.

The potential for favouritism, biased evaluations, and unfair advantages creates an environment that undermines the principles of fairness and equal opportunity in the bidding process.

Development Diaries calls on the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to implement stringent measures, enforce existing laws, and foster a culture of ethical conduct that will contribute to a procurement process that serves the public interest and promotes a thriving, corruption-free economy.

We also call on Nigerian government officials to refrain from using their private companies to bid for government contracts.

Photo source: Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo

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