N44 billion Scandal: EFCC Detains Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farooq Seizes their Passports

As the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Ms Betta Edu remains in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) custody for the continuation of her interrogation, the agency has confiscated both her official and personal international passports.

Also the EFCC has also seized the passport of her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq who was on Monday interrogated for more than 13hours over the burgeoning financial scam in the ministry.

A source at the EFCC confirmed to Punch newspaper that the anti-graft agency seized the passports to ensure that the suspects are unable to escape.

“The commission has seized the passports of the two ministers, Sadiya Shehu and Betta Edu. We have also seized Mrs Halima Shehu’s passport pending the conclusion of investigations. The commission does not want to risk having any of them leave the country while they still have questions to answer,” the source told Punch.

The suspended minister got into trouble when a letter she wrote requesting the Accountant General of Federation to pay N585 million into a private account for onward disbursement to some poor Nigerians.

The anti-graft agency also have uncovered a whopping N44 billion that the ministry hurriedly transferred to various private accounts in the last week of December 2023.

Top officials of three banks who the ministry used to carry out the suspicious transactions have also been invited for interrogation by the EFCC.

Also official of the agency on Wednesday night who spoke to FACTHEET confirmed that Ms Edu was still in the agency’s headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, but that “she was being properly treated, in fact they are treating her like a minister.”

Meanwhile, Afenifere, the influential Yoruba socio-cultural organisation has called on President Bola Tinubu to be firm and fair in his fight against corruption.

In a statement it issued on Tuesday, the group insisted that Tinubu must ensure thorough investigation of the allegations in order to restore the confidence of the public in the system.

Part of the statement reads:

“Given recent revelations regarding alleged corruption within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, we urge the president to initiate a thorough investigation into these allegations. It is crucial to meticulously examine every aspect of the ministry’s financial transactions to ensure transparency and accountability.

“Additionally, we call for a comprehensive investigation into the financial transactions associated with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as a forensic audit of the ministry and the companies involved in the excessively inflated consultancy’s verification fees.”

The Minister of Interior, Hon. Tunji-Ojo has also been fingered in the scandal as his company, has been fingered as one of the firms used to siphon public funds under the guise of verification of the social register. The company, New Planet Limited was awarded N438 million contract to verify the social register.

 

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