N37.1bn Fraud: EFCC Grants Ex-Minister Sadiya Bail After 12-Hour Grilling

Sadiya Umar Farouq
Sadiya Umar Farouq

Following a thorough 12-hour interrogation that begun on Monday (11 am to 11:30 pm), with ex-Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters, in Abuja, she has been granted bail.

Accompanied by her lawyer, Oladipo Okpeseyi, she was requested to provide a statement clarifying her association with contractor James Okwete regarding the disbursement of N37,170,855,753.44, which was directed to Okwete’s bank accounts through ministry-affiliated agencies.

During the session held at the EFCC Headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, documents were presented, outlining the movement of funds into various accounts linked to Okwete.

“Sadiya was grilled by interrogators since 11 am, and she was released on bail around 11.30 pm tonight (Monday), we aren’t detaining her just as we didn’t detain Halima Shehu, because the investigation is still ongoing.

“However, Sadiya has been mandated to report to the commission every day from tomorrow (Tuesday). She was asked to write a statement explaining her relationship with the contractor, Okwete, and how those monies got into his account,” an EFCC source told Punch.

The source added, “She was given access to documents showing how the monies were moved from the ministry’s coffers and deposited into the bank accounts of Mr Okwete.”

Okwete’s lawyer, Chukwuemeka Eze, when contacted confirmed that his client had been released by the anti-graft agency.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Minister, Sadiya Farouq Arrives EFCC Headquarters Over N37.1bn Fraud

Eze noted that Okwete was released on administrative bail last Thursday and had been asked to report to the commission daily.

“My client, Okwete has been released by the EFCC on bail. He was released last week Thursday, and has been asked to report to the commission daily,” Eze said.

Recall that at about 10:20 am on Monday, the former Minister tweeted about her presence at the EFCC Headquarters, saying, “I have, at my behest, arrived at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to honour the invitation by the anti-graft agency to offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating.”

Documents revealed that following receipt of the funds, Okwete transferred N6,746,034,000 to Bureau De Change Operators, withdrew N540 million in cash, purchased luxury cars with N288,348,600 and bought luxury houses in Abuja and Enugu State with N2,195,115,000.

So far, 53 companies have been traced to Okwete, who was also said to have used 47 of the firms to secure Federal Government contracts amounting to N27,423,824,339.86.

He is also linked with 143 bank accounts in 12 commercial banks of which 134 accounts are corporate accounts linked to different companies.

The Corporate Affairs Commission revealed that Okwete is a director in only 11 of the 53 companies, while the remaining 42 companies’ accounts were linked to his Bank Verification Number as a signatory to the accounts.