May 28, 2024

Bustan Daily

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EFCC Summons Buhari’s Minister Over Alleged N37 Billion Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly summoned the former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq.

It was learnt that the Minister was invited for questioning over an ongoing probe into the N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered under her watch through a contractor, James Okwete.

The anti-graft agency directed Umar-Farouq, who served under the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, to appear before interrogators at its headquarters, Jabbi, Abuja, on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, to explain the alleged fraud.

A document seen by The PUNCH read in part, “The commission is investigating a case of money laundering involving the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development during your time as minister.

“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly report for an interview with the undersigned. Scheduled as follows: Wednesday, 3rd of January, 2024. Time: 10 am. This request is made pursuant to Section 38 (I) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 & Section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.”

The ex-minister could not be reached for comments on Saturday as her telephone indicated that it was switched off. When her former media aide, Nneka Ikem, was contacted over the development, she told the platform’s correspondent off and switched off her phone.
“As you’re asking me? I’ll be asking you too, where did you learn that the EFCC has invited her,” Ikem queried before ending the call. Subsequent calls indicated that her phone had been switched off.

Umar-Farouq had earlier denied knowledge of the contractor, James Okwete, who the anti-graft agency is still holding.

The former minister tweeted on her X handle on Monday, “There have been a number of reports linking me to a purported investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission into the activities of one James Okwete, someone completely unknown to me.

“James Okwete neither worked for nor represented me in any way whatsoever. The linkages and associations to my person are spurious. While I resist the urge to engage in any media trial whatsoever, I have, however, contacted my legal team to explore possible options to seek redress on the malicious attack on my person.

“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

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