Humanitarian Ministry Fraud: We’ve Not Cleared Betta Edu, Says EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has not cleared anyone involved in the ongoing probe of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, which led to the suspension of Betta Edu, the minister.

In January, President Bola Tinubu had ordered the suspension of Edu and Halima Shehu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Social Investment Programme Authority (NSIPA).

The president had ordered the anti-graft agencies to go after the individuals and their agencies so as to get to the root of the matter.

Many Nigerians had complained that no update had been given on the probe months after the president’s order.

However, in the March edition of the agency’s monthly e-Magazine titled: EFCC Alert, Ola Olukoyede, Chairman of the anti-graft commission, had said N30 billion had been recovered from the probe while 50 bank were under probe.

But on Sunday,  spokesman of the anti-graft agency, Dele Oyewale,  clarified that its investigations that yielded recovery of N30bn was not about individuals but about the intricate web of fraudulent practices in the system.

The anti-graft agency also revealed that the recovered sum was part of the fraudulent dealings involving COVID-19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot that was released to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development.

While disclosing this to journalists in Abuja, he explained that the fund was released by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

Oyewale, who further clarified that the officials of Humanitarian ministry, including Edu, who were invited by the commission as part of the probe have not been cleared by the anti-graft agency.

“The EFCC has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

“Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance. It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals.

“The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary,” Oyewale said.

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