Due to ongoing investigations into problems inside the ministry, the passports of Betta Edu, the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and Sadiya Umar-Farouq, her predecessor, have been seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
As of the time this report was filed at 7 p.m., Edu, who arrived at the EFCC offices in Abuja at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, was still being questioned by the commission’s investigators.
As the EFCC interrogated the suspended minister over the N44bn fraud uncovered in the ministry, it was learnt that managing directors of three commercial banks were also questioned on Tuesday over the fraud.
The scandal involving Edu burst open after a leaked memo revealed that the suspended minister directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585m to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups.
The minister had claimed that the N585m payment was meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states, describing the allegations against her as baseless.
The Media Assistant to the minister, Rasheed Olarewaju, said in a statement that it was legal within the civil service for such payments to be made into private accounts of staff members, especially project accountants.
The President suspended Edu on Monday in response to public outcry and gave her instructions to turn over to the ministry’s permanent secretary.
Edu accepted the invitation from the EFCC on Tuesday, and the investigators questioned her for a long time.
It was discovered that detectives had confiscated both her official and personal passports, preventing her from leaving the nation.