Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, failed to appear before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, disregarding an invitation related to the alleged laundering of N37.1bn during her tenure. The probe involves a contractor, James Okwete.
Despite being scheduled to appear at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja at 10:00 am, Umar-Farouq kept interrogators waiting for over eight hours without offering any official communication explaining her absence.
Our correspondent, present at the EFCC headquarters from 9 am to 6.30 pm, confirmed that the former minister did not show up for the scheduled interrogation. An anonymous interrogator stated that the team concluded their work at 6 pm, having ascertained that Umar-Farouq would not be present.
Journalists, anticipating the former minister’s arrival, besieged the EFCC office, adding to the tension surrounding the situation. The EFCC had invited Umar-Farouq to address questions regarding an ongoing investigation into the alleged N37.1bn fraud within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
Umar-Farouq had denied any knowledge of the contractor, James Okwete, who is currently detained by the EFCC. In a tweet, she stated that Okwete had no connection to her and that the reported linkages were baseless.
The former minister, appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2019, did not respond to requests for comments. When contacted, her former media aide, Nneka Ikem, was evasive and questioned the source of the information.
The EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, declined to comment on the matter. The investigation into the alleged fraud also coincides with probes into three other former ministers, totaling an estimated N150bn in graft, as part of a broader effort to address corruption within the government.