EFCC Invites Former Minister, Farouq, over N37bn Laundered Funds

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited the former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, over an ongoing probe into the N37,170,855,753.44 allegedly laundered under her watch through a contractor, James Okwete.

The former minister was asked to appear before interrogators at the EFCC headquarters, Jabbi, Abuja on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, to explain the alleged fraud.

“The commission is investigating a case of money laundering involving the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development during your time as minister.

“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly report for an interview with the undersigned. Scheduled as follows: Wednesday, 3rd of January, 2024. Time: 10am”, the invitation letter, read

“This request is made pursuant to Section 38 (I) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 & Section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011”, it said.

Meanwhile, fresh facts have emerged as to why the Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, insisted on the account details of nine oil producing states for the return of the N52 billion recovered from a consultant that allegedly diverted their money into private hands.

The Olusegun Akindele Consultancy Firm allegedly siphoned N84 billion meant for the nine states, prompting the EFCC to launch investigation into the fraudulent schemes behind the deals.

THISDAY investigations showed that the EFCC chairman did not want the re-looting of the recoveries because there were four groups involved in the diversion of the money.

It is feared that personalities that tampered with the funds originally may still design new, ingenuous schemes to corner the recoveries. Besides, the EFCC chair was said to be uncomfortable with the reluctance of the governors to forward their state governments’ account details for the return of the money.

“As far as he is concerned, there should be nothing holding the governors from coming forward with the required account details since the money was recovered for their states”, a competent source said.

The situation had triggered a brewing fight between the EFCC and nine governors of oil producing states over N84.7 billion siphoned from the statutory 13 per cent derivation meant for the nine oil producing states.

At issue was also the release of N52 billion recovered from former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and some of his accomplices, THISDAY investigation showed.

Idris is standing trial over N109 billion money laundering, diversion of public funds, abuse of office and conspiracy charges by the EFCC.

THISDAY had reported that the EFCC investigation uncovered N84.7billion siphoned from the statutory 13 per cent derivation meant for the nine oil producing states.

The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.

The money was allegedly siphoned by a consultancy firm, Olusegun Akindele Consultancy firm and other accomplices engaged by the nine NDDC states to review and reconcile the payments due to them from the Excess Crude Account between 2004 and 2016.

Specifically, Olusegun Akindele Consultancy firm received the total sum of N84. 7 billion, being 9.84 per cent of N861,135,887,749.10 as consultancy fees and the money was shared among four groups.

Through diligent investigation, the EFCC was able to recover the total sum of N52 billion from fictitious consultancy contracts to three out of the four groups.

The funds belong to the nine oil producing states as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in their meeting of August 20, 2021.

Further investigation showed that several correspondences were made between the Akwa Ibom State Governor on behalf of the nine oil producing states and the EFCC.

The Akwa lbom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, wrote the EFCC seeking the release of the N52 billion to the nine states to a consultant, Messrs Platinum Resources Limited.

THISDAY further gathered that the EFCC turned down the request, insisting that each of the states should send the account details of their government for the release of the money. The EFCC’s directive was not complied with.

Eno sent account details of four states, notably, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers to the EFCC for the release of the recovery. Account details of the remaining five states were not sent.

Further investigation showed that the EFCC refused to play ball, insisting that all the account details of the nine states should be provided.

THISDAY learnt that the EFCC boss, Olukoyede, is planning to pay the money into the CBN derivation account of each of the states.

“This development is the basis of the fight of the governors of the nine states with the commission

“The EFCC’s position is to allow for transparency and accountability concerning the use of the recovered funds”, a competent source familiar with the development, said.

When THISDAY contacted the spokesman of the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, he declined comment.

 

Thisday Report


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