EFCC invites Buhari’s minister Umar-Farouq for questioning over alleged N37bn fraud

Umar Farouq Sadiya

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, for questioning over a fraud case involving N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered in her ministry through a contractor identified as James Okwete.

According to a document of summon from the EFCC released on Saturday, Umar-Farouq who served as minister in the ministry created by former President Muhammadu Buhari, is to appear at the anti-graft agency on Wednesday, January 3rd, at their Jabbi, Abuja, head office to explain the mystery behind the missing money.

“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,” the summon reads.

“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: 10am.

“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.”

When news of the alleged fraud and money laundering broke last week and the subsequent arrest of Okwete by the EFCC, Umar-Farouq had promptly denied ever knowing or conducting any business transactions with the said contractor who is still being held by the agency.

She had taken to her X account to claim that during her time as a minister, she served with the utmost integrity and was never involved in any criminal activity.

“There have been a number of reports linking me to a purported investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission into the activities of one James Okwete, someone completely unknown to me,” she wrote.

“James Okwete neither worked for, nor represented me in any way whatsoever. The linkages and associations to my person are spurious.

“While I resist the urge to engage in any media trial whatsoever, I have however contacted my legal team to explore possible options to seek redress on the malicious attack on my person.

“I remain proud to have served my country as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with every sense of responsibility and would defend my actions, stewardship and programmes during my tenure whenever I am called upon to do so”, she had said.

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