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N37Bn Fraud: EFCC Interrogators May Wait All Night For Umar-farouq, As Suspended NSIPA Boss Remains In Custody Over Alleged N17Bn Fraud



EFCC Condemns Unauthorized Use Of Its Operational Identities For Skit Making

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja

Contrary to her promise of making self available to defend her actions, stewardship and programmes during her tenure as the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development when called upon, Sadiya Umar Farouq seems to have reneged or backtracked on her words.

In a statement personally signed by her, she vowed: “I remain proud to have served my country as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with every sense of responsibility and would defend my actions, stewardship and programmes during my tenure whenever I am called upon to do so.”

Sources closed to Oasis Magazine revealed that some other officials who worked with her had also been invited to provide an insight into how the affairs of the ministry were run in the last four years but further revealed that the Minister was yet to arrive the commission for interrogation at 5:00pm.

The development contravenes the 10:00am time directed by the commission for the Ex-minister to appear for interrogation.

The Ex-minister appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari was notified by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week to appear before it and offer explanation regarding an investigation which revolves around funds reportedly laundered through a contractor, James Okwete.

Okwete was arrested in connection with an ongoing probe into the N37 billion allegedly laundered by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development under former Minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

His arrest coincides with the probe of three other ministers, who served under former President Muhammadu Buhari, for graft estimated at N150 billion.

The commission in its invitation letter directed Sadiya Umar Farouq to appear at their headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at 10am.

The commission cited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004, and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as the legal basis for the inquiry.

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The planned interrogation of the former minister followed the immediate suspension of Halima Shehu as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) by President Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu replaced Halima with the National N-Power programme Manager, Akindele Egbuwalo, in acting capacity pending an investigation initiated into the activities of the embattled former head of the agency.

NSIPA, which is responsible for managing critical programmes like N-Power and Conditional Cash Transfer, has been under scrutiny in recent times, with concerns raised about efficiency and effectiveness.

Few hours after her suspension, the EFCC yesterday arrested her and she was still being detained.

Sources revealed that Halima Shehu was picked up in connection with the movement of N17 billion from NSIPA account to some suspicious accounts within one week.

According to the top official, the interception and recovery of the cash followed some alleged payments of billions of naira by the agency without presidential approval.

It was also learnt that the EFCC might have recommended Halima Shehu’s suspension to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Her suspension, based on preliminary investigation, was to pave the way for an unfettered probe of the infraction.

Operatives of the commission, who were drafted to the National Coordinator’s private office and home, arrested her at about 8pm yesterday.

After searching her home and office, she was taken into custody at about 9pm for interrogation.

It was also learnt that the EFCC was closing in on a director of the agency, who was allegedly complicit in the huge payments into the suspicious accounts.



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