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EFCC seizes Edu, Umar-Farouq’s passports, interrogations continue today
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Wed, 10 Jan 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized the travel documents of suspended minister Betta Edu and her predecessor Sadiya Umar-Farouq who are being probed for various alleged financial malfeasance during their separate stewardship of the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry.

Also, the EFCC seized the passport of former National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, who is also being probed for alleged embezzlement of N44.8bn.

The EFCC had said it recovered about N39.8 billion out of N44.8billion allegedly embezzled from the government account by Shehu.

Edu In Marathon Interrogation

On Tuesday, Betta was grilled by anti-graft investigators for over 10 hours at the EFCC headquarters in Jabi, Abuja. The 37-year-old was interrogated over alleged N585m disbursement fraud.

After the marathon interrogation, the embattled minister was released on bail late Tuesday but asked to report everyday to the EFCC office daily over the matter.

Edu, Shehu and Umar-Farouq are expected back at the Commission’s office on Wednesday anytime from 11am for further interrogation.

The embattled minister came alongside her aides and lawyer and is currently facing EFCC investigators.

Edu’s appearance at the EFCC office came barely a day after she was suspended by President Bola Tinubu.

Edu was caught in a N585m disbursement scandal involving the humanitarian affairs ministry, attracting widespread criticisms from rights groups and activists.

The predicament of the 37-year-old was worsened when the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, confirmed that although her office received a request from the humanitarian ministry to make certain payments, her office did not act on it.

On Monday, the President wielded his big stick and suspended the 37-year-old with immediate effect, making his party’s ex-national women leader the first to be removed from his 48-man cabinet inaugurated last August.

The President also ordered EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, “to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions” involving the ministry and “one or more agencies thereunder”.

Edu, 37, the youngest in the President’s cabinet before her suspension, was a fast-rising Amazon in the political space having occupied state and national offices at a young age.

Before her ministerial appointment last August, she was Cross River State Commissioner for Health and the National Women Leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). Edu was a prominent figure in the campaign train of Tinubu, the then APC presidential candidate, during the electioneering process that brought the ex-Lagos governor into office as President.

Edu clinched her ministerial appointment about three months after Tinubu was sworn in as President. Her tenure as minister was, however, short-lived barely six months after, perhaps the shortest tenure by a minister in a long while.

Umar-Farouq’s Interrogation Continues

Meanwhile, the EFCC further quizzed Edu’s predecessor, Umar-Farouq, on Tuesday, the second straight day. The ex-minister is being probed over an alleged laundering of N37.1 billion during her tenure as a minister.

She was allowed to go home on Tuesday after a marathon interrogation and is expected to return on Wednesday for further clarifications on sundry issues that the Commission flagged in the course of its preliminary investigations.

 

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