March 2, 2024

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EFCC Seizes Passports of Ministers Betta Edu and Sadiya Umar-Farouk in N37 Billion Fraud Investigation

“EFCC Seizes Passports of Ministers Betta Edu and Sadiya Umar-Farouk in N37 Billion Fraud Investigation”

In the ongoing investigation into an alleged N37 billion fraud, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken steps to prevent the possible flight of the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, and her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouk. The anti-graft agency has seized their passports as part of measures to ensure their presence during the investigation.

Earlier reports indicated that CEOs of Zenith, Providus, and Jaiz banks were questioned by the EFCC regarding their involvement in the alleged fraudulent transactions linked to Edu and former minister Umar-Farouk. The commission discovered that a significant portion of the transactions related to the ministers was conducted through these banks, leading to their summons.

Umar-Farouk’s passport had also been seized as part of her bail conditions before her release on Monday night. The latest move by the EFCC involves the confiscation of passports belonging to Edu and the former minister, aiming to prevent any attempt to flee the country while investigations are ongoing.

A reliable source at the EFCC emphasized the importance of securing the passports to ensure the ministers remain available for questioning. The source stated, “The commission has seized the passports of the two ministers, Sadiya Shehu and Betta Edu. We have also seized Mrs. Halima Shehu’s passport pending the conclusion of investigations. The commission does not want to risk having any of them leave the country while they still have questions to answer.”

Efforts to obtain comments from the former minister’s lawyer, Dipo Okpeseyi, SAN, were unsuccessful, as he did not respond to phone calls or messages seeking his input. Similarly, attempts to reach Edu were also unsuccessful.

Besides Edu, Ms. Halima Shehu, the National Coordinator and CEO of the National Social Investment Programme, has been indefinitely suspended over allegations of financial misappropriation. Shehu was arrested and questioned by the EFCC regarding the movement of N44 billion from the NSIPA account to suspicious private and corporate accounts in December 2023, without presidential approval.

As part of her bail conditions, Shehu has been reporting to the EFCC office daily to assist with the ongoing investigation. She previously served as the National Coordinator of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme under former President Muhammadu Buhari before her appointment.

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