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N37.1bn ‘fraud’: Ex-minister Sadiya gives reason for not honouring EFCC’s invitation

Former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has cited health challenges as the reason she could not honour an…

Former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has cited health challenges as the reason she could not honour an invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). 

The former minister was said to have officially written to the EFCC seeking an extension of the deadline regarding interrogations over an ongoing probe into the N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered during her tenure in office, through a contractor, James Okwete.

The spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale told The Punch that Umar had sent a legal representative and written to the commission seeking to be given more time to honour the invitation while citing health challenges.

Oyewale said, “The former Humanitarian Minister didn’t appear before the commission yesterday, but she sent in a letter pleading for more time and also explaining that she has some health challenges and that was why she couldn’t honour the invitation. She also sent in her lawyer to meet with interrogators.

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“However, the commission has mandated her to submit herself to the commission without further delay. We are still tracing all the transactions, hence we cannot put a figure to everything now as the investigation is still ongoing.”

It was reported that Umar-Farouq kept interrogators waiting for over eight hours on Wednesday without an official communication to the commission as to why she didn’t honour the invitation.

The former minister was asked to appear before investigators at the EFCC Headquarters, Jabbi, Abuja on Wednesday, at about 10:00 am, to give an account of the alleged fraud that took place under her watch.

However, the former minister did not show up at the anti-graft agency’s office for interrogation on Wednesday.

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