Alleged N37bn fraud: Give me more time, Ex-minister Farouq begs EFCC

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Agency report

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, did not disregard its invitation, contrary to reports in some media outlets.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, the EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, said that the former minister had sent a letter explaining her inability to attend due to health challenges.

“It is true that she did not appear, but she sent a letter requesting additional time, citing health issues.

“She did not decline the EFCC’s invitation; she provided reasons for her absence. Furthermore, her lawyer visited the commission to explain why she couldn’t attend,” the EFCC spokesman said.

Oyewale noted that the commission had taken her plea into consideration, expecting her to comply with the invitation at the earliest opportunity.

He clarified that her arrest might not be necessary as she had fulfilled the necessary procedures through her legal representative.

He said, “The commission’s stance is that she should present herself without any further delay.”

Regarding the alleged misappropriation of N37.1 billion linked to the ministry, Oyewale refrained from confirming the exact amount, mentioning that investigations were ongoing and the total amount could exceed the speculated figure.

He said, “We are unable to confirm the amount at this point because our investigation is ongoing. We are still tracking various transactions, and the total might surpass the currently circulated figure.”

The spokesman also revealed that Halima Shehu, the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), who was detained on Tuesday, has been released. Shehu has been instructed to report to the EFCC for questioning throughout the investigation.

“She was responsible for the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme under the Ministry during Buhari’s tenure and has been questioned about certain funds that were disbursed from the ministry’s accounts,” he added. NAN