…for facilitating illegal transfer of public funds into private accounts
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Tuesday, arrested and interrogated Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors of Zenith Bank, Providus Bank, and Jaiz Bank for their alleged involvement in the over N44billion fraud recently uncovered in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation under the suspended Minister, Betta Edu and her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouk.
It was learnt that the banks CEOs, who had been under security watch since the scandal became public knowledge, were still undergoing grilling in the hands of EFCC interrogators at the Jabi, Abuja headquarters of the anti-graft agency, as of 4:55pm on Tuesday.
Recall that the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, is currently in custody of the EFCC, where she’s undergoing interrogation over ₦585million scandal.
Similarly, Farouq, who was the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under the former president Muhammadu Buhari administration, is also currently under investigation for alleged mismanagement of at least N37billion in public funds earmarked for the conditional cash transfer programme of the immediate past government.
Also, the embattled Co-ordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency, Halima Shehu, is being probed by the EFCC over an alleged ₦44bn fraud. The Agency is domiciled in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
It was learnt that the huge transfer of funds into private accounts was partly facilitated by potential deliberate oversight in flagging suspicious transactions – a responsibility assigned to banks under the various anti-financial crime laws and Central Bank of Nigeria directives.
The three banks have yet to make any official statement regarding the detention of their CEOs by the anti-graft agency.
Meanwhile, embattled suspended Minister Edu has claimed that she’s innocent as her hands are clean.
She also expressed her commitment to fighting corruption amid the uproar concerning her illegal request to transfer N585m into a private account.
Edu made claim of her innocence in a Facebook post addressed to Npower beneficiaries.
According to her, “Dear Npower Beneficiaries, I want to assure you all to remain calm and steadfast amidst the recent accusations and suspension I am facing. My heart and hands are clean, and I am committed to fighting corruption.
“It’s essential to be aware that some individuals with impure intentions may use government machinery against you. Stay strong, and together, we will navigate through these challenges.”