EFCC Allegedly Retrieves N30bn Looted Funds From Humanitarian Ministry

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered over N30 billion from the N37,170, 855,753.44 allegedly laundered in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs under former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

The Commission also uncovered over N500m from the scam associated with Umar-Farouk’s successor, Betta Edu, who was recently suspended by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Recall that N37,170,855,753.44 was transferred from government coffers and sent to 38 different bank accounts domiciled in five legacy commercial banks belonging to or connected with a contractor, James Okwete.

However, as disclosed by Punch at the weekend, the looted funds was recovered following the placement of a lien on the bank accounts of Umar-Farouq and Okwete, who are still being grilled by the anti-graft agency’s investigators.

“The commission has now recovered over N30bn from the laundered N37.1bn that was linked to former minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq. We were able to recover the money after we placed liens on the bank accounts of the former minister and the contractor, Mr Okwete, who was linked to the fraud under probe. Both the minister and the contractor are still being grilled by our investigators daily,” a source at the anti-graft agency said.

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The Commission is also still grilling Edu in connection with an alleged N17bn fraud, while the suspended Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme, Halima Shehu, is also still being questioned over an alleged N44bn fraud.

“We have uncovered another N17bn money laundering from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and for the alleged fraud linked to the suspended minister, Betta Edu, we have so far recovered over N500m. Edu is still answering questions about the fraud.

“The NSIPA coordinator, Halima Shehu, is still being grilled over the N44bn fraud linked to her at the NSIPA; our investigators aren’t leaving any stone unturned,” a senior EFCC investigator said.

Spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, when contacted for reaction on the development, declined comments.