EFCC exposes N37bn fraud in humanitarian ministry, implicating Buhari’s minister and a contractor

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered an alleged money laundering scheme amounting to N37,170,855,753.44 in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, formerly led by Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

The funds were reportedly transferred to 38 different bank accounts linked to contractor James Okwete.

Okwete is accused of diverting substantial amounts for personal use, including Bureau De Change transactions, cash withdrawals, luxury car purchases, and property acquisitions in Abuja and Enugu State.

Okwete, associated with 53 companies, allegedly secured Federal Government contracts worth N27,423,824,339.86 through 47 of these companies.

However, it was found that he is a director in only 11 of these companies, while the remaining 42 companies’ accounts are linked to his Bank Verification Number without his directorship.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs oversees eight agencies, including the National Social Investment Office, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internationally Displaced Persons.

Umar-Farouq, the former minister, was appointed by President Buhari in 2019.

In a separate incident in 2020, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) uncovered N2.67bn meant for the ministry’s school feeding program in private bank accounts.

The funds were allegedly misappropriated during the COVID-19 lockdown, with ICPC discovering additional assets such as buildings, business premises, and land. Despite requests from the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to disclose names of suspects, Umar-Farouq did not comply.

SERAP has called for transparency, threatening legal action if the names are not revealed. The EFCC neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, and when contacted, the spokesperson provided no comments.

Human rights lawyer Tolu Babaleye expressed concern over corruption under the Buhari government, urging a probe, while Ezenwa Nwagwu of the Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa called for investigations into all previous administrations, emphasizing justice for those found guilty.

By dworldgist.com

Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of www.dworldgist.com and www.gospelrespec.com. He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *