N585m graft: EFCC grills Betta Edu for hours

Aliya Moses
4 Min Read

ABUJA — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday grilled for hours the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, over the payment of N585 million into a private account.

Also questioned was her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq over N37 billion fraud in the ministry.
Vanguard can authoritatively say that none of the three bank chiefs were either arrested or detained by the commission yesterday.

The role of the Accountant-General of the Federation in the whole saga was also questioned by EFCC investigators.

These came on a day the team of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar told the federal government that merely suspending the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr, Betta Edu, was not enough and cautioned President Bola Tinubu’s administration against weaponsing the growing poverty among Nigerians.

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This is even as the All Progressives Congress, APC, said yesterday that President Bola Tinubu acted swiftly enough to suspend the minister.

Reporters gathered that the minister, who had earlier been suspended by President Bola Tinubu arrived at the EFCC office at 11 am and was expected to be released at 11 pm, according to an EFCC source.

Edu was at the EFCC on a day her predecessor Sadiya Umar-Farouq and the deposed chief executive officer of the National Social Intervention Programme Agency, NSIPA, Halima Shehu, were also at the commission for questioning over their role in the financial scandal in the ministry.

While Halima Shehu and Sadiya Umar-Farouq had reported at least twice to explain their roles in the multiple scandals associated with the ministry and social intervention programmes, Edu appeared for the first time yesterday to shed more light on the N585 million cash said to have been moved from the ministry into a private account for payment to vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Ogun and Cross River states.

She said no financial rule was breached in moving the cash away from the treasury into a separate account to be managed by an appointed account officer but the Accountant General of the Federation disagreed, which prompted the Presidency to suspend her on Monday and ordered a probe.

While Sadiya Umar-Farouq is reported to have been associated with the payment of over N37 billion into some questionable entities and contractors, Halima Shehu is said to have moved various amounts of money belonging to the NSIP under the humanitarian ministry into several private bank accounts in.

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She was also suspended by the President once the report became public and was shut out of the Presidency.
Some reports claim the amount moved by her included N44 billion and N30 billion but she has denied the claims.
A top EFCC source confirmed to Vanguard yesterday that the bank chiefs who were in their office were neither arrested nor detained.

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