NEWSPOLITICS

Buhari’s minister indicted as EFCC uncovers N37bn fraud in humanitarian ministry

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has uncovered the sum of N37,170,855,753 allegedly laundered in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management under former minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

According to the Punch, details of the ongoing probe revealed that the money was transferred from the Federal Government’s coffers and sent to 38 different bank accounts domiciled in five legacy commercial banks belonging to or connected with a contractor, James Okwete.

Following receipt of the funds, Okwete allegedly transferred N6,746,034,000.00 to Bureau De Change Operators, withdrew N540,000,000.00 in cash, purchased luxury cars with N288,348,600.00, and bought luxury houses in Abuja and Enugu State with N2,195,115,000.00.

Fifty-three companies were allegedly traced to Okwete, who was also said to have used 47 of the companies to lift Federal Government contracts amounting to N27,423,824,339.86. He is also linked with 143 bank accounts in 12 commercial banks in which 134 accounts are corporate accounts linked to different companies.

The EFCC document read; “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.

“The monies were sent to 38 bank accounts domiciled in five legacy commercial banks. The suspect transferred N6,746,034,000.00 to Bureau De Change Operators, N540,000,000.00 withdrawn in cash, N288,348,600.00 used to purchase cars, and used N2,195,115,000.00 to purchase choice properties within Abuja and Enugu State.

“Fifty-three companies were traced to the suspect. He used 47 of the companies to lift Federal Government contracts amounting to N27,423,824,339.86. Okwete is associated with 143 bank accounts in 12 commercial banks in which 134 of the 143 accounts are corporate accounts linked to different companies.”

Umar-Farouq is the pioneer and immediate past Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. She was appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

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