Alleged N585m Fraud: We’ve not cleared Edu, others—EFCC


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the ongoing probe of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

It would be recalled that the EFCC recently announced the recovery of N30 billion in the ongoing probe of the suspended ministry boss, Betta Edu.

EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, who made the disclosure, said the anti-graft agency had also placed 50 bank accounts under investigation over alleged fraud that involved the suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Social Investment Programme Authority (NSIPA), Halima Shehu.

President Bola Tinubu had, in January, suspended both Edu and Shehu over the alleged payment of N585 million humanitarian funds meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Cross River, and Ogun states into a private account.

Tinubu also suspended the Social Investment Programme and, thereafter, asked the EFCC to take over the case and probe both embattled officials, including anyone involved.

Reacting to various opinions and insinuations on the ministry probe, the anti-graft agency, in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Sunday, April 24, 2024, said investigations are ongoing and advancing, adding that those found wanting will be prosecuted.

Oyewale said: “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 N32.7 billion 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. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

“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.”

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