Former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has arrived at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to honour the invitation by the anti-graft agency over alleged N37 billion fraud.
Ms Umar-Farouq announced on X her arrival at the EFCC’s head office in Abuja on Monday.
She said, “I have, at my behest, arrived at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to honour the invitation by the anti-graft agency to offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating.”
The EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, said Thursday.
Mr Oyewale explained that the former minister sent a letter that she could not honour the invitation because she was indisposed due to health challenges.
“She sent a letter pleading for more time, explaining that she had some health challenges…She actually gave reasons why she couldn’t meet up. Her lawyer was also at the commission to brief the anti-graft agency of why she couldn’t come or honour the invitation,” the EFCC spokesman added.
Mr Oyewale said EFCC had considered her plea and expected that she would honour the invitation without further delay. He said there might not be any reason for her arrest as she had done what was needed through her lawyer.
“The position of the commission is that she should turn herself in without further delay,” the EFCC official said.
He also explained that the N37.1 billion being branded might not be a correct figure for the money misappropriated by the ministry.
”On the figure that is being branded, I cannot categorically confirm the figure because it is an ongoing thing. We are still tracing all the transactions here and there. It may be more than that,” the EFCC spokesman explained. “We can’t publish a figure now until we finish the tracking, and it may be more than what is being brandished now.”
The spokesman also said the national coordinator and chief executive officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, has been released.
Ms Shehu, arrested on Tuesday, has been released and directed to come to the EFCC office for interrogation until the end of the investigation.
She was arrested in connection with the ongoing probe of the humanitarian affairs ministry.
“She was the national coordinator in charge of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme under the ministry during Buhari’s tenure, and she has been queried over some of the money that left the ministry’s coffers through her,” the EFCC official added.