EFCC Questions Zenith, Providus, Jaiz CEOs Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farouk Alleged Humanitarian Fund Fraud

The CEOs of Zenith, Providus, and Jaiz banks have been asked to explain what they might know about the financial misappropriation charges against Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, and her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

The top bankers were at the offices of the anti-graft agency EFCC on Tuesday over the matter, Peoples Gazette learnt from multiple sources.

The Gazette heard that Zenith Bank’s CEO Ebenezer Onyeagwu was promptly allowed to leave after answering preliminary questions from anti-graft detectives, although it remained unclear whether or not he would be returning for additional sessions.

The anti-graft agency is presently probing numerous instances of substantial public funds directed into private accounts, an action sanctioned by Mses Edu and Farouq using their position as ministers. 

Ms Farouq, who oversaw the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under the previous administration, is also under investigation for the mismanagement of at least N37 billion in public funds designated for the conditional cash transfer programme of then-President Muhammadu Buhari.

The large-scale movement of funds into private accounts was partly facilitated by a potential deliberate oversight in flagging suspicious transactions —a responsibility banks bear under various anti-financial crime laws and Central Bank directives, the sources told The Gazette. 

A spokesman for Providus Bank told The Gazette the matter development was “under review,” without elaborating in an email Tuesday evening. Jaiz did not return a request seeking comments.

EFCC spokesman Dele Oyewale sidestepped a request for comment over the matter on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Ms Edu has said her hands are clean, and she is committed to fighting corruption amid the uproar over her illegal request to wire funds into a private account.

Ms Edu made this statement in a Facebook post she addressed to Npower beneficiaries.

“Dear Npower Beneficiaries, I want to assure you all to remain calm and steadfast amidst the recent accusations and suspension I am facing. My heart and hands are clean, and I am committed to fighting corruption,” Ms Edu said.

She added, “It’s essential to be aware that some individuals with impure intentions may use government machinery against you. Stay strong, and together, we will navigate through these challenges.”

There have been several financial corruption investigations since President Bola Tinubu assumed power, resulting in the detention of prominent figures like the disgraced CBN governor Godwin Emefiele and EFCC chair Rasheed Bawa.

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