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EFCC Recovers N32.7 Billion, $447,000 in Humanitarian Ministry Fraud Probe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced the recovery of N32.7 billion and $447,000 during its investigation into alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

The EFCC initiated the probe into the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, over the alleged transfer of N650 million to a private account. President Bola Tinubu had ordered the investigation, leading to Edu’s suspension and subsequent questioning by the EFCC. She was later released on bail, maintaining her innocence.

Additionally, the EFCC is investigating Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, for alleged fraud amounting to N37.1 billion, and the National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, for alleged financial mismanagement. Shehu was arrested after N44 billion was traced from the NSIPA account to suspicious private and corporate accounts in December 2023.

In a recent statement, the EFCC clarified that their investigations have uncovered fraudulent activities related to Covid-19 funds, World Bank loans, and recovered Abacha loot designated for poverty alleviation. The agency also emphasized that the investigations focus on a system and a network of fraudulent practices rather than individual officials.

The statement, signed by EFCC spokesperson Dele Oyewale, further revealed that banks implicated in the alleged fraud are also under investigation. The managing directors of these banks have cooperated with investigators, and those found guilty will face prosecution.

The EFCC urged the public to disregard any claims suggesting that individuals involved in the fraud have been cleared, emphasizing that investigations are ongoing and progressing steadily.

In a related development, the EFCC reported an increase in public awareness and support against naira abuse and the dollarization of the economy. The agency pledged to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in the abuse of the national currency, noting that new evidence of such infractions will be pursued.

The EFCC also disclosed that it is currently investigating several celebrities implicated in naira abuse, with many providing useful statements to investigators. The agency reiterated its commitment to enforcing the law without favoritism, warning the public to comply with regulations.

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