EFCC's Successful Retrieval of Over N30 Billion in Humanitarian Ministry's Alleged Money Laundering Scandal

 EFCC's Successful Retrieval of Over N30 Billion in Humanitarian Ministry's Alleged Money Laundering Scandal

*Abuja, 4th February 2024*

Sadiya Umar-Farouk

In a significant breakthrough, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered over N30 billion from the alleged money laundering activities in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. The funds, totaling N37,170,855,753.44, were suspected to have been misappropriated during the tenure of former minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk. Additionally, the EFCC has unearthed over N500 million associated with a similar scam involving Umar-Farouk's successor, Betta Edu.

The investigation began after it was reported that N37,170,855,753.44 had been transferred from government coffers to 38 different bank accounts linked to a contractor named James Okwete. Following rigorous efforts by the EFCC, N30 billion has been successfully recovered from the fraudulent transactions. Both Sadiya Umar-Farouk and James Okwete are currently undergoing extensive questioning as part of the ongoing investigation.

Betta Edu, who was recently suspended by President Bola Tinubu, is also under scrutiny for her alleged involvement in a N17 billion fraud. The EFCC has reportedly recovered over N500 million related to this particular case. Simultaneously, Halima Shehu, the suspended Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), is facing investigation over an alleged N44 billion fraud.

An EFCC source provided insights into the recovery process, stating, "The commission has now recovered over N30 billion from the laundered N37.1 billion that was linked to former minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq. We were able to recover the money after we placed liens on the bank accounts of the former minister and the contractor, Mr. Okwete, who was linked to the fraud under probe. Both the minister and the contractor are still being grilled by our investigators daily."

In a separate revelation, the EFCC disclosed a total recovery of N70,556,658,370.5 between October 2023 and January 19, 2024. The recovery comprised N60,969,047,634.25, $10,522,778.57, £150,002.10, and €4,119.90. During this period, the EFCC processed 3,325 petitions, accepted 2,657 of them, and secured the conviction of 747 individuals for various financial crimes.

The breakdown of recoveries by different commands and zones indicated substantial amounts, with the Lagos Zonal Command leading with N6,826,993,798.78, $868,284.61, £147,672.10, and €1,899.90. The EFCC continues its steadfast commitment to ongoing investigations, discoveries, and recoveries, further strengthening its resolve to combat financial crimes in Nigeria.

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