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EFCC Probing 50 Bank Accounts Linked To Betta Edu’s Stashed Funds Case, Recovers N30bn

EFCC is probing Betta Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, and NSIP Coordinator Halima Shehu over financial misappropriation

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has said that the anti-graft agency recovered N30 billion in the case involving former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.

Edu was suspended following the approval of N650 million into a private account.

Following the development, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ordered an investigation into the allegations and subsequently suspended her from office.

She was later invited for questioning by the EFCC and detained. She was later released on bail.

She had also denied any wrongdoing.

The agency was also investigating Betta Edu’s predecessor in office, Sadiya Umar-Farouk over N37.1 billion fraud as well  Ms Halima Shehu, the National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme, an agency under the humanitarian ministry, over alleged financial misappropriation.

Shehu was arrested and questioned by the EFCC in connection with the movement of N44 billion  from the NSIPA account to some suspicious private and corporate accounts within the last four days in December 2023.

But speaking in an interview with “EFCC Alert”, a publication of the agency, the EFCC boss said N30 billion have so far been recovered since the commencement of investigation into the alleged  fraud case involving the suspended minister.

He said the recovered funds were already in the coffers of the federal government.

“Moreover, with respect to this particular case,  we have recovered over N30 billion, which is already in the coffers of the federal government”, he said.

“We have laws and regulations guiding our  investigations. Nigerians will also know that they are already on suspension and this is based on the investigations we have done, and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has proved to Nigerians that he is ready to fight  corruption.

“It takes time to conclude investigations. We started this matter less than six weeks ago.

“There are cases that take years to investigate. There are so many angles to it and we need to follow through some of the discoveries that we have seen”, he said.

He said the agency was investigating 50 bank accounts where stashed funds were traced.

“Nigerians should give us time on this matter; we have professionals on this case and they need to do things right. There are so many leads here and there.

“As it is now, we are investigating over 50 bank accounts that we have traced money into. That is no child’s play. That’s a big deal”, he said.

Olukoyede said a recent high profile investigation conducted by the agency was proof of its commitment to contain graft in the country.

“Then you ask about my staff strength. And again, we have thousands of other cases that we are working on. Nigerians have seen the impact of what we have done so far, by way of some people being placed on suspension and by way of the recoveries that we have made. You have seen that the programme itself has been suspended.

“We are exploring so many discoveries that we have stumbled upon in our investigation. If it is about seeing people in jail, well let them wait, everything has a process to follow.

“So Nigerians should wait and give us the benefit of the doubt”, he said.

Olukoyede also called  for a united front in the fight against graft.

“Nobody can fight the corruption war alone. So, we want Nigerians to believe in our capacity to fight this battle. We must also come together and agree that corruption is bad, and so when we are prosecuting corrupt persons, Nigerians should believe in it.

“We expect Nigerians to also appeal  to their conscience, because the negative impact of corruption is all over for all to see”, he said.

He further stated that “we must  agree that what is wrong is wrong. I also appeal to other stakeholders – the National Assembly, the Judiciary to support us in this mission.

“Every Nigerian must be a corruption fighter. When you see something wrong, say something. Challenge corrupt politicians in your locality. Take them up.

Take your governors up on the allocations they receive and make them accountable. By so doing you will be supporting the fight against corruption”, he said.

Kingsley Nwezeh

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