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Former Buhari Minister indicted of N37 billion Fraud



Sadiya Umar Farouq indicted of N37 billion Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered a staggering sum of N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs during the tenure of former minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq.

An ongoing probe by the anti-graft agency revealed that this substantial amount was transferred from federal government coffers to 38 different bank accounts.

These accounts, affiliated with contractor James Okwete, were traced to five legacy commercial banks.

According to findings reported by Punch, Okwete, upon receiving these funds, allegedly diverted N6,746,034,000.00 to Bureau De Change Operators, withdrew N540,000,000.00 in cash, purchased luxury vehicles amounting to N288,348,600.00, and invested N2,195,115,000.00 in lavish properties located in Abuja and Enugu State.

The investigation also linked Okwete to 53 companies, where 47 of these entities were purportedly utilized to secure Federal Government contracts totaling N27,423,824,339.86.

Records from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) disclosed that Okwete serves as a director in only 11 of the 53 companies, while the remaining 42 are solely linked to his Bank Verification Number as a signatory to the accounts.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development oversees eight agencies, including the National Social Investment Office and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, among others.

Sadiya Umar-Farouq served as the pioneer Minister of this department after her appointment by former President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2019.

The EFCC document highlighted,

“Between 2018 and 2023, the subject (Okwete) received the sum of N37,170,855,753.44 from the coffers of the Federal Government linked to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.”

This recent discovery follows previous revelations by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in 2020, uncovering N2.67bn meant for the ministry’s school feeding program diverted into private bank accounts during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Sadiya Umar-Farouq to disclose the identities of those involved, threatening legal action if transparency isn’t upheld.