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More trouble for Betta Edu and others as EFCC uncovers fresh $445,000, N3bn fraud in humanitarian ministry



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered more fraud in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

The EFCC spokesman, Dele Oyewale disclosed this in a statement on Sunday saying the agency had not cleared anyone involved in the ongoing probe of the ministry, which led to the suspension of the minister, Betta Edu.

The EFCC said it had so far recovered a combined sum of N32.7 billion and $445,000 from investigations into the alleged fraud involving past and suspended officials of the ministry.

According to Oyewale, the $445,000 and N3bn were recovered between March and April in addition to N30bn earlier recovered before March.

Oyewale said; “The EFCC has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving COVID-19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the federal government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

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“Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance. It is instructive to stress that the commission’s investigations are not about individuals.

“The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary,” Oyewale said.

The EFCC launched the probe on the directive of President Bola Tinubu following the suspension of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Beta Edu.

Also under probe is Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and the Coordinator of the National Social Insurance Programmes Agency, Halima Shehu.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has said it would intensify its move against naira abuser, following the conviction of controversial cross-dresser, Idri Okuneye, alias Bobrisky, and his sentence to six-month imprisonment by the Federal High Court in Lagos.

It said, “Public support in reporting naira abuse and dollarisation of the economy is appreciated, with increased awareness of the issue.

“The EFCC is committed to prosecuting those involved in naira abuse, having in mind that a new task force came into operation on February 7, 2024.’’

“Several celebrities are under investigation for naira abuse, with some providing statements and more likely to be invited for questioning. The EFCC maintains its no-sacred-cow approach, warning the public to comply with laws against the crime.”

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