• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ex-Buhari’s minister, Sadiya Farouq risk arrest over N37.1bn fraud – EFCC

FG earmarks $1bn for national social investment programme – Farouq

The storm seems to be brewing for former Minister of Humanitarian Affair, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, after she failed to honour the invitation to appear before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday. An action that could lead to her arrest by the anti-graft agency any time soon.

It was learnt that the EFCC had written to Umar Farouq, requesting her to appear before it for further questioning in furtherance of the ongoing investigation over an alleged N37.1 billion fraud committed by a contractor, James Okwete, an alleged associate of hers’ during her time as minister.

Unfortunately, the anti-graft agency had waited for over eight hours for the former minister to show up at its Abuja headquarters. She didn’t appear or send a representative to appear on her behalf.

Our journalist and others who had waited patiently at the EFCC headquarters for her appearance did not see Umar Farouk or any person who came to represent her.

According to a PUNCH correspondent who spoke to an EFCC official who preferred not to be identified, said the interrogation team had to retire from work at about 6 p.m. when they were certain that the former minister was not going to show up.

“We just closed from work now because she didn’t show up today, and it’s 6 pm already. It’s certain that she’s never going to show up today,” the investigator said.

It is believed that the former minister might be arrested if she fails to voluntarily appear before investigators at the EFCC’s headquarters, as officially requested by the commission.

“Hajia Sadiya didn’t show up at our office today for interrogation. In fact, she kept interrogators waiting for hours. Meanwhile, our operatives may arrest her this week and bring her in for questioning if she fails to show up tomorrow,” a senior official who spoke to PUNCH said.

Up until Wednesday evening, there was still no official statement from the former Minister, either through her X (formerly known as Twitter) handle or any of her aides, explaining why she failed to honour the EFCC invitation.