Three days ago, the revelation was heavy that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) found in the possession of former Humanitarian Affair Minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouq N30 billion.
While the N30 billion recovery from Sadiya is muffled, N500m traced to her successor, Betta Edu is announced at an astounding crescendo. The two incidents of shocking fraud would have the ministry mistaken for that of brazen corruption.
The news about Sadiya was barely mentioned in the media – new or traditional. Even in today’s information overdose occasioned by internet penetration, this news was almost not reported. That raises the question if there is a conspiracy to place a lid on Sadiya’s fraud.
Every act of indiscretion over public office and the abuses that come with it is supposed to get equal attention in condemnation, but this particular instance doesn’t seem to flow in line.
On Tuesday, the younger brother of Muhammadu Buhari’s minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika was arrested in connection with N8 billion aviation fraud. Why all these revelations and why are they played down? It is shocking to hear all these about a regime that boasted it was clean, fighting corruption, and headed by a political saint.
The few exposures seem to brand Buhari’s regime as one of the worst, if not the worst in fraud, misappropriation, and corruption. Added to the wanton destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives of Nigerians and very little done to stop the killers, time is proving what the Buhari administration was made of really.
The recovered money is just a part of over N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs under the former minister.
Sources in the anti-graft agency, who spoke with PUNCH on Friday, said the commission had also uncovered over N500m from the scam associated with Umar-Farouk’s successor, Betta Edu, who President Bola Tinubu recently suspended.
An EFCC source revealed, “The commission has now recovered over N30bn from the laundered N37.1bn that was linked to former minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq. We could 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.”
The N30bn recovery was after the EFCC placed a lien on the bank accounts of Umar-Farouq and Okwete, who are still being grilled by the anti-graft agency’s investigators.
The agency is also still grilling Edu in connection with an alleged N17bn fraud. At the same time, the suspended Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme, Halima Shehu, is also still questioned over an alleged N44bn fraud.
A senior EFCC investigator added, “We have uncovered another N17bn money laundering from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and for the alleged fraud linked to the suspended minister, Betta Edu, we have so far recovered over N500m. Edu is still answering questions about the fraud.
“The NSIPA coordinator, Halima Shehu, is still being grilled over the N44bn fraud linked to her at the NSIPA; our investigators aren’t leaving any stone unturned.”