Ex-Minister Umar-Farouq didn’t shun our invitation — EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said a former Minister of Humanitarian Affair, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, did not shun its invitation as reported by a section of the media.

The EFCC Spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, said this in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

Oyewale explained that the former Minister sent a letter that she couldn’t honour the invitation because she was indisposed due to health challenges.

He said: “It is true that she didn’t show up, but she sent a letter pleading for more time, explaining that she had some health challenges.

“She didn’t shun EFCC invitation.

“She actually gave reasons why she couldn’t meet up

“Her lawyer was also at the commission to brief the anti-graft agency of why she couldn’t come or honour the invitation.”

Oyewale said the commission had considered her plea, and expected that she would honour the invitation without further delay

He said there might not be any reason for her arrest as she had done the needful through her lawyer.

He added: “The position of the commission is that she should turn herself in without further delay.”

Oyewale also explained that the N37.1 billion being branded might not be a correct figure of the money misappropriated by the ministry

He said: “On the figure that is being branded, I cannot categorically confirm the figure because it is an ongoing thing.

“We are still tracing all the transactions here and there.

“It may be more than that.

“We can’t publish a figure now until we finish the tracking and it may be more than what is being brandished now.”

The spokesman also said that the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency, Halima Shehu, has been released.

Shehu, who was arrested on Tuesday, has been released and directed to be coming to the EFCC office for interrogation until the end of investigation.

She was arrested in connection with the ongoing probe of the humanitarian affairs ministry.

Oyewale said: “She was the National Coordinator in charge of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme under the Ministry during Buhari’s tenure, and she has been queried over some of the money that left the ministry’s coffers through her.”