The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has successfully retrieved over N30 billion from the alleged N37.17 billion money laundering case involving the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. Sources from the anti-graft agency also reveal an additional discovery of over N500 million linked to the successor of the former minister, Betta Edu, recently suspended by President Bola Tinubu.
The EFCC disclosed that the N37.17 billion was transferred from government coffers to 38 different bank accounts connected to contractor James Okwete. Following the imposition of a lien on the bank accounts of the former minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and Okwete, the EFCC managed to recover N30 billion. Both Umar-Farouq and Okwete are currently undergoing investigations by the anti-graft agency.
In a related development, Betta Edu is being questioned about an alleged N17 billion fraud, while the suspended Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), Halima Shehu, faces queries over an alleged N44 billion fraud.
An EFCC source stated, “We have uncovered another N17 billion money laundering from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and for the alleged fraud linked to the suspended minister, Betta Edu, we have so far recovered over N500 million. Edu is still answering questions about the fraud. The NSIP coordinator, Halima Shehu, is still being grilled over the N44 billion fraud linked to her at the NSIP; our investigators aren’t leaving any stone unturned.”
The EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, declined to comment on the matter.
In a separate development, the EFCC revealed a total recovery of N70.56 billion between October 2023 and January 19, 2024. The recovered sum includes N60.97 billion, $10.52 million, £150,002.10, and €4,119.90. During this period, the EFCC received 3,325 petitions, accepted 2,657, and secured the conviction of 747 individuals for financial crimes.
The ongoing probe by the EFCC has deepened, particularly focusing on money laundering cases involving high-profile public officials. The total amount involved in these cases has risen to approximately N130.1 billion as of January 31, 2024, according to details provided in an EFCC document titled ‘100 Days in Office.’
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