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Former Humanitarian Affairs Minister Umar-Farouq Snubs EFCC Inquiry Over N37.1bn Fraud Allegation




Sadiya Umar-Farouq

In a developing story, former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, became the subject of controversy when she failed to appear for an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) interrogation on Wednesday.

Naija News understands that EFCC is currently investigating a significant financial scandal, allegedly involving a N37.1 billion fraud during her tenure, reportedly linked to a contractor named James Okwete.

Despite being scheduled to report at the EFCC headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, at 10:00 am on January 3, 2024, Umar-Farouq did not show up, leaving the investigators waiting for over eight hours. There was no official communication from her or her representatives explaining the absence.

The PUNCH learned from sources inside the EFCC that the former minister’s non-appearance has raised eyebrows, considering the gravity of the accusations. An anonymous interrogator expressed disappointment, stating, “It’s certain that she’s never going to show up today.”

Journalists gathered at the EFCC headquarters in anticipation of Umar-Farouq’s arrival, highlighting the public interest in the case. The EFCC had invited the former minister to clarify the alleged financial irregularities uncovered in her ministry, as part of a broader investigation into a N37.1bn fraud.

Attempts to contact Umar-Farouq for comments were unsuccessful. Her former media aide, Nneka Ikem, was also evasive when approached for clarification.

Umar-Farouq has publicly denied any association with Okwete, the contractor implicated in the scandal. In a tweet, she refuted the allegations, stating, “James Okwete neither worked for nor represented me in any way whatsoever.”

The EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, declined to comment on the matter.

This incident coincides with ongoing investigations involving three other former ministers under the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, suspected of being involved in graft totalling N150bn.

Sadiya Umar-Farouq served as the pioneer Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, appointed by former President Buhari in July 2019. Her alleged involvement in this scandal is part of a series of high-profile corruption cases that the EFCC is currently probing, shedding light on the challenges of governance and accountability in Nigeria.

Olawale Adeniyi Journalist | Content Writer | Proofreader and Editor.