The former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq has officially written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seeking an extension of the deadline to meet with EFCC interrogators over an ongoing probe into the N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered during her tenure in office, through a contractor, James Okwete.
The EFCC spokesman Dele Oyewale said in an exclusive interview that Umar had sent a legal representative to the commission and has written to the commission seeking to be given more time to honour the invitation due to 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.
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 delayed her interrogation on Wednesday without official communication to the commission as to why she didn’t honour the invitation.
Reports disclosed that the EFCC invited the former Minister for questioning concerning an ongoing investigation into an alleged ₦37.1bn fraud uncovered in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs currently serves as the parent ministry to 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, among others.
Umar-Farouq was the pioneer Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, who was appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2019 as the youngest cabinet member.
Meanwhile, in 2020, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission said it uncovered N2.67bn meant for the ministry’s school feeding programme in private bank accounts.
It was also recently revealed that the EFCC arrested a contractor, James Okwete, in connection with the ongoing probe into the N37.1bn allegedly laundered by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development under the former Minister, Umar-Farouk.
Adding that the contractor made useful statements concerning Umar-Farouk and former director-general of the ministry.