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N37.1 Billion Fraud: Suspended NSIPA Boss Arrested, Ex-Minister Faces EFCC




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The National Co-ordinator and CEO of the National Social Investment Programme Agency, Halima Shehu, has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pending the investigation into the N37,170,855,753.44 purportedly laundered in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, which was headed by former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

Punch Newspaper reports that on Tuesday, at around nine in the morning, EFCC agents stormed the NSIPA office at the Federal Secretariat in the Federal Capital Territory and took Shehu to the EFCC headquarters in Jani, Abuja.

It was learnt that the CEO was still being detained and grilled as at Tuesday night.

Reputable senior anti-graft agency officers, who spoke to the paper under anonymity, disclosed that Shehu, the former National Coordinator of the Ministry’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program, was charged with crimes related to the purported 37.1 billion fraud.

The anti-graft agency source said, “Halima Shehu is currently in our (EFCC) custody in connection with the ongoing N37.1bn fraud that took place under the former Humanitarian Minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

“Halima was the National Coordinator in charge of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme under the Ministry during Buhari’s tenure, and she’s been queried over some of the money that left the ministry’s coffers through her.

“The former Minister, Sadiya is also expected at the office tomorrow (Wednesday) for questioning over the N37.1bn money laundering case.”

Naija News had earlier reported that Shehu was suspended from office by President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday.

Recall that the EFCC summoned the former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Umar-Farouk, to testify before investigators today (Wednesday) in connection with an ongoing investigation into the N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered during her tenure in office through a contractor, James Okwete.

The former minister was summoned to appear before investigators at the EFCC Headquarters in Jabbi, Abuja, to provide an account of the alleged massive fraud that occurred under her watch.