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EFCC detains National Social Investment Programme CEO in ongoing N37.1bn money laundering probe

Halima Shehu, National Coordinator of NSIPA, held by EFCC in connection with alleged fraud during former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk's tenure

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken a significant step in its ongoing investigation into the alleged laundering of N37,170,855,753.44 within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, during the tenure of former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk. The National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, has been arrested and detained in connection with the probe.

EFCC operatives reportedly descended on NSIPA’s office at the Federal Secretariat in the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday morning, driving Shehu to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja. As of the latest update, Shehu remains in detention, undergoing interrogation by the anti-graft agency.

Anonymous senior officers from the EFCC revealed that Shehu is implicated in the alleged N37.1bn fraud, having served as the former National Coordinator of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme under the Ministry during President Buhari’s tenure. The officers disclosed that Shehu faces questioning over financial transactions linked to the ministry’s coffers during her term.

“Halima Shehu is currently in our (EFCC) custody in connection with the ongoing N37.1bn fraud that took place under the former Humanitarian Minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouk,” stated an EFCC official. The former Minister is also expected to appear for questioning regarding the money laundering case.

In a related development, President Bola Tinubu suspended Shehu from office on Tuesday. Simultaneously, the EFCC has invited former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk to appear before investigators on Wednesday to account for the alleged monumental fraud that transpired during her tenure. The investigation focuses on the sum of N37,170,855,753.44, which was reportedly laundered through a contractor named James Okwete.

The document from the EFCC, seen exclusively by The PUNCH, requested the former minister’s appearance for an interview, citing a case of money laundering during her time in office. The invitation is based on legal provisions, emphasizing the commission’s commitment to investigating financial crimes in accordance with established laws.

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