EFCC recovers N32.7bn, $445,000 from humanitarian ministry

MONTHS after the indictment of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and the Coordinator of the National Social Insurance Programmes Agency, Halima Shehu, over a fraudulent misappropriation of public funds, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said that it recovered N32.7 billion and $445,000 from the ministry. 

Edu was accused of having confirmed the payment of N585 million to be paid into a private account managed by the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and owned by Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola. The funds were meant to be grants for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos.

The minister, who described allegations of diverting the fund as blackmail, claimed that Mojisola was a project accountant in the ministry.


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The ICIR reported that Edu was suspended by President Bola Tinubu in January. The minister subsequently presented herself to EFCC for questioning

In a tweet on the EFCC’s X account (formerly Twitter), the commission said the recoveries were made when the affected officials of the ministry were invited by the commission.




     

     

    It also noted that the announcement was made to dispel rumours concerning the progress of its mobile investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the ministry. The ICIR reported how various social media users pushed a disinformation campaign to launder the image of the suspended minister. 

    “It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices.  Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. 

    “Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary,” Dele Oyewale, head of media and publicity said. 

    The EFFC stated that the investigation opened other fraudulent dealings involving COVID-19 funds, the World Bank loan, and Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate linked to other suspended officials of the ministry.

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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