EFCC detains ex-humanitarian affairs minister over alleged N37.1 billion fraud

Sa,adiya Umar

EFCC detains ex-humanitarian affairs minister over alleged N37.1 billion fraud

By Aluta News
January 09, 2023

The former minister arrived at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja in honour of an earlier invitation over the pending N37.1 billion fraud case on Monday morning.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained a former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, for questioning over allegations of corruption in the handling of N37.1 billion social intervention funds during her tenure.

Mrs Umar-Farouq arrived at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja in honour of an earlier invitation over the pending case on Monday morning.

She posted via her X handle at 10.17 a.m. on Monday that she had just arrived at the commission’s office.

“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,” she tweeted.

EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, similarly confirmed the development in a telephone interview with our reporter, saying, “Mrs Sadiya Umar-Farouk arrived at our office this morning.”

The ongoing investigation by the EFCC revolves around the staggering sum of N37.1 billion (N37,170,855,753.44) allegedly laundered by officials of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development then led by Mrs Umar-Farouk as the minister.

The EFCC had earlier grilled Halima Shehu, the suspended National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) being supervised by the ministry.

The commission detained Mrs Shehu after raiding NSIPA’s office in the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, on 2 January. She was held for questioning till the following day when she was released on bail.

Mrs Shehu, who was recently suspended by President Bola Tinubu, was responsible for overseeing the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme during President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. She was replaced with Akindele Egbuwalo, in an acting capacity.

The EFCC also summoned Mrs Umar-Farouk for questioning over the case, but she requested a rescheduling of the appointment.

When the news of the ongoing EFCC investigations started filtering out linking her to one of the officials at the centre of the alleged scam, Mrs Umar-Farouk tweeted to deny any wrongdoing.

“I remain proud to have served my country as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with every sense of responsibility and will defend my actions, stewardship and programmes during my tenure whenever I am called upon to do so,” she had posted on X.


There have been a number of reports linking me to a purported investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the activities of one James Okwete, someone completely unknown to me. James Okwete neither worked for,

— Sadiya Umar Farouq CON (@Sadiya_farouq) December 25, 2023

The school feeding component of the social intervention programmes overseen by the ministry has been enmeshed in corruption allegations for a while now.

In September 2020, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said its investigations revealed a diversion of N2.67 billion meant for school feeding during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

Then ICPC chairperson, Bolaji Owasanoye, stated that the said fund allegedly diverted into private accounts.

The commission also revealed that over N2.5 billion was misappropriated by a senior civil servant (name withheld), now deceased, in the ministry of agriculture.

“We discovered payment of N2.67 billion during lockdown when the children were not in school, and some money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into these findings,” ICPC’s tweet partly read at the time.

The money was for the feeding of boarding students in Federal Government Colleges who were all at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Mrs Umar-Farouk’s successor, Betta Edu, is also caught in a web of a fresh scandal involving N585.2 million.

In the unfolding scam, Ms Edu directed that the N585.2 million, which was transferred from the National Social Investment office account, be transferred into a civil servant’s private bank account.

The money was meant for disbursement to vulnerable people in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos, and Ogun states, under the federal government poverty intervention project called Grants for Vulnerable Groups.

The Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, distanced herself from the transaction, confirming the illegality of the humanitarian affairs minister Ms Edu’s action.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said in a statement on Sunday that the federal government was investigating the scandal.









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