EFCC grills Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farouq over alleged fraud

Between Monday, January 8 and Tuesday, January 9, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has grilled ex-minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq and Betta Edu.

According to reports on Monday, crack detectives of the EFCC grilled the former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, over alleged laundering of N37, 170,855,753.44. The immediate past minister, is facing allegation of laundering the money through a contractor, James Okwete.

But in line with the new policy of the commission, Sadiya was asked to go home on bail for another round of interrogation on Tuesday.

According to a top source, the ex-Minister appeared for interrogation at about 10.30pm. She had asked for a three-week grace before answering EFCC’s invitation, but the agency granted her only three days grace. In order to avoid being declared wanted, the ex-Minister reported at the EFCC’s headquarters.

“She has complied with our 72-hour ultimatum, her investigation by our team has started,” the top source confirmed.

In what appeared a confidence-building tweet, the ex-Minister said: ”I have, at my behest, arrived at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to honour the invitation by the anti-graft agency to offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating,”

As at 6.15pm, Sadiya has made what a source described as “a useful statement.”

Another source, who was in the know of the interaction, said: “We have been grilling her for many hours on all the issues we have isolated for her.

“In line with our new policy, we will allow her to go home. She will however come on Tuesday for another round of interrogation.”

EFCC grills Edu

The suspended Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Minister Dr. Betta Edu was grilled on Tuesday by the EFCC over alleged N585 million fraud in her ministry.

Betta Edu
Betta Edu

Edu, who was suspended on Monday, January 8, by President Bola Tinubu, is being accused of paying the Humanitarian Fund into a private account.

The N585 million was meant for payment of grants to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Cross River and Ogun states.

Edu is the first minister to be suspended from office since member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) were sworn in in August last year.

Before her appointment as minister, she had served as Health commissioner in Cross River State and National Women Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Following her suspension, Edu was blocked from seeing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who had directed the anti-graft agency to thoroughly investigate the financial activities of the ministry and some of its agencies.

A source said that her access tag was withdrawn by a security agent at the State House, Abuja.

The President also directed a panel, headed by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, to investigate the financial structure and operations of the social investment programmes, with a view to restructuring relevant institutions and programmes.

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma, Senate Chief Whip Ali Ndume and Arewa Youth Consultative Forum hailed Edu’s suspension. They described it as upholding the anti-corruption disposition of the Administration.

The President’s directives on the probe were contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, in Abuja.

Edu, who was directed to hand over the affairs of the ministry to the Permanent Secretary, was also advised to cooperate fully with the investigating bodies

The statement reads: “In line with his avowed commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the management of the commonwealth of Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu suspends the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, from office with immediate effect.

“The President further directs the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as one or more agencies thereunder.

“The suspended Minister is hereby directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and she is further directed by the President to fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as they conduct their investigation.

“Furthermore, the President has tasked a panel that is headed by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to, among other functions, conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the financial architecture and framework of the social investment programmes, with a view to conclusively reforming the relevant institutions and programmes in a determined bid to eliminate all institutional frailties for the exclusive benefit of disadvantaged households and win back lost public confidence in the initiative.”

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