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EFCC Rejects Buhari’s Former Minister’s Request, Gives 72-hour Deadline




Sadiya Farouq

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has rejected the request of a former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, to postpone her interrogation for three weeks.

Naija News reports that the minister, who cited health challenges, approached the anti-graft agency through her counsel requested that the deadline be extended by three weeks.

However, the EFCC stated that Umar-Farouq must appear at its Abuja headquarters before its team within three days for interrogation.

A source told The PUNCH: “In her letter, she asked the EFCC to give her three weeks to attend to her health before honouring the commission’s investigation. The letter was delivered by her counsel on Wednesday.

“But the EFCC said it cannot delay the investigation for three weeks. It has given the ex-minister three days to appear or risk being declared wanted.

“Olukoyede has put a new system in place such that you can appear before EFCC detectives and sleep in your home the same day. There is no need to panic at all.

“We are expecting her; our team is on standby. Even if she requires medical help, we will avail her of our first-class facility.”

Recall that Umar-Farouq was invited over the alleged laundering of N37, 170,855,753.44 in her ministry during her tenure through a contractor, James Okwete.

Although the ex-minister has denied having any link with the implicated contractor, the anti-graft commission insisted that she should come for questioning.

The one-time minister formally wrote to the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, that she was indisposed.

EFCC spokesman Dele Oyewale said: “We got a letter from the ex-minister that she could not honour our invitation due to some health challenges.

“Since her lawyer brought the letter, the EFCC has also responded accordingly.”

The EFCC letter to the ex-minister reads: “The commission is investigating a case of money laundering involving the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development during your time as minister.

“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly report for an interview with the undersigned scheduled as follows: Wednesday, 3rd of January, 2024. Time: 10 am.

“This request is made pursuant to Section 38 (I) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 & Section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.”

During a television interview, Oyewale said the agency had directed her to honour the invitation without further delay.

He said: “It is true that she didn’t show up, but she sent a letter pleading for more time, explaining that she had some health challenges.

“She didn’t shun EFCC’s invitation. She actually gave reasons why she couldn’t meet up.

“Her lawyer was also at the commission to brief the anti-graft agency on why she couldn’t come or honour the invitation.”

George Oshogwe Ogbolu is a Digital Media Strategist | Content Writer | Journalist | New Media Influencer | Proofreader and Editor at Naija News.