Sadiya Farouq shuns EFCC invitation to address ‘N37.1bn fraud’

Sadiya Umar Farouq

Former minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development Sadiya Farouq has shunned an invitation for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N37,170,855,753.44 fraud.

Farouq was asked to see investigators at the EFCC headquarters, Jabbi, Abuja on Wednesday, January 3.

However, as of 6pm, time for close of work, the former minister was nowhere near the commission’s headquarters.

It was gathered that she did not send any message explaining why she would not be present to answer questions from investigators.

The EFCC believes N37 billion was laundered under Farouq’s watch through a contractor, James Okwete, who is already in custody.

Farouq has since dissociated herself from Mr Okwete.

A probe by the EFCC showed that N37 billion was transferred from the Federal Government to 38 different bank accounts domiciled in five commercial banks belonging to or connected with Okwete.

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.

Records in the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) show Okwete is a director in 11 of the 53 companies while he is a signatory to the accounts of the remaining firms.

After receiving N37 billion from the government, Okwete, according to an EFCC document, 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.