ICPC Recovers ₦50bn from Betta Edu’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as EFCC Investigation Intensifies

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Betta Edu and Sadiya Umar-Farouq
Betta Edu and Sadiya Umar-Farouq
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In the latest developments, the inquiry into improprieties within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has taken a significant turn. On Wednesday, EFCC investigators extensively questioned several high-ranking civil servants implicated in the ongoing scandals.

Notably, the ICPC successfully retrieved a substantial sum of N50bn from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. This amount, initially at risk of embezzlement, was recovered by the ICPC between July and August 2023 and subsequently deposited into the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The funds, earmarked for assisting vulnerable citizens during the tenure of former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq, had faced potential misallocation into private bank accounts.

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However, under the leadership of former Chairman Bolaji Owasanoye, the ICPC thwarted these attempts and ensured the recovery of the misappropriated funds.

President Tinubu, in response to the appointment of the now suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, directed the Accountant-General of the Federation to reimburse the money to the ministry.

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This action was part of the Infrastructure Support Fund for the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, aimed at mitigating the impact of the fuel subsidy removal.

The refunded sum forms a portion of the N44bn allegedly laundered in the National Social Investment Programme Agency, along with the N585m authorized by Edu for disbursement.

During the period of naira scarcity between late 2022 and 2023, the ICPC, led by Prof Owasanoye, uncovered and retrieved a total of N50bn from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

Initially, N32bn was blocked and recovered, and further investigation revealed an additional N18bn, both intended for vulnerable and impoverished individuals in the country. The scarcity of currency during the naira redesign period hindered the distribution of these funds by the ministry under the former minister, Umar-Farouq.

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The recovered funds were deposited into government coffers between July and August 2023. Attempts by some ministry officials to disburse these funds into private accounts during a period of ministerial transition were promptly halted by the ICPC, which detected suspicious and fraudulent intentions in the proposed distribution. The money was subsequently safeguarded and recovered.

In response to President Tinubu’s announcement of the Infrastructure Support Fund, the Federal Government allocated the funds to the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry under Betta Edu, responsible for poverty alleviation projects, thus ensuring a transparent and accountable utilization of the resources.

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