Fraud: Former Ministers Farouq, Edu, Others Still Being Investigated By EFCC

 By Suleiman Umaru

 The Last may not have been heard about Hajia Sadiya Farouq, and Betta Edu, both former ministers of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, now baptized ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

  Hajia  Farouq had served under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration awhile Edu, her successor  was appointed by incumbent President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but later suspended in office  over their alleged fraudulent activities.

Their case may have been worsened as Ola Olukoyede led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  crack team of Investigators are still probing  what the anti-graft agency’s Chairman  had described as the  ‘’intricate web of  fraudulent practices  in the ministry .

Given an insider information of the ongoing investigation in the Humanitarian Affairs ministry and Poverty Alleviation, Dele Oyewale, spokesperson of the EFCC, had said that the duo, Hajia Farouq and Edu, both former ministers in the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation including past and other suspended officials who   were invited by the Commission over the alleged fraud discovered are being investigated on their involvement. 

Edu: suspended minister of ministry ofHumanitarian and Poverty Alleviation by President Tinubu

The Managing Directors of some  Banks like Zenith, Providus, and Jaiz, allegedly involved in the intricate web of fraudulent practices  who were said to have also been  invited  for questioning , according Oyewele, the Commission spokesperson are also    being investigated.  

The Chief Executives Officers, CEO, of the three new generations Banks, a source confirmed are being investigated in connection   with the alleged N44.5 billion fraud    discovered in the ministry that had been  linked to the former ministers and another N85 billion fraud   that was said to have also been discovered in the ministry   involving  Hajia Halima Shehu, CEO, National Social Investment Programme Agency, NSIPA   and Edu, the immediate past minister of the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

 Many believe that the two former ministers and other top officials of the ministry and NSIPA, an agency of the ministry could perpetuate the multi-billion fraud because of their alleged close working relationship with Godwin Emefiele, an erstwhile governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, currently being prosecuted by the EFCC at an Ikeja High Court in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre over alleged abuse of office and allocations of billions of dollars to companies.    

 Oyewale, the EFCC  spokesperson  had confirmed that that the invited Banks Managing Directors questioned in connection with the multi-billion naira fraud in the investigated ministry   had made ‘’useful statements  to the agency investigators digging deep into the infractions to get to the root of the matter.  Haji Farouq, annually for had revealed that Buhari Government had earmarked $1 billion annually for NSIPA, to execute its mandate. This aside from its yearly budgetary allocations between 2015 and 2023.

  The EFCC  Image maker may have shocked Nigerians when  he disclosed that the probe of the Humanitarian Affairs ministry , described as ministry of Fraud, by analysts,  had exposed other fraudulent activities  involving the officials of the ministry  a Nigerian former Head of State recovered  with the COVID 19 funds , the World Bank loan ,obtained  by the Katsina state born Nigerian President, Late Gen. Sani Abacha,   recovered loot  released  to the ministry  on the orders of the then President Buhari  to execute its  poverty alleviation mandate.

Unlike the DSS, which had investigated and kept the former CBN governor in the agency Custody since July 2023, the EFCC Authorities which had introduced 26 fresh charges against the former apex Bank governor to guarantee taking him to an Ikeja High Court for trial had said that after its investigation and findings it had discovered multi-billion frauds in the ministry of Humanitarian in the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and recovered   N32.7 billion  and $445,000 for the government.

There are indications that the ministry had received N258.4 billion between January and September , 2020,  out of which   it spent  N96.3 billion  within the same period  on NSIPA alone.Oyewale, the EFCC , spokesperson, may have spoken the mind of the Commission Executive Chairman,  when he issued a Statement on Sunday, April 14, 2024,  stating that the huge amount    were recovered  from ‘’thorough   investigations  into the ministry for a long  time’’. 

To prove that that the Commission was not out on a witch any individual but ha focused its investigation on the entire ministry, he had said that several interdicted l erstwhile   and suspended officials of the ministry that were linked to the alleged financial malfeasance during the investigation were not covered up but exposed in order to face the full weight of the Law. 

Although he Managing Directors of Zenith, Providus and Jaiz Banks had made useful statements that had helped the EFCC officials in their investigations of the Humanitarian Affairs ministry, Ojewale had said that the Commission has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud, insisting that the investigation is still on going.

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