The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has seized the passports of the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, and her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq.

Both women are enmeshed in financial scandals in the ministry.

They are facing investigations over financial misconduct.

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.

In deference to public pressure, the President on Monday suspended Edu and directed her to hand over to the permanent secretary in the ministry.

Top EFCC sources confirmed the probe of the senior bank executives on Tuesday.

An impeccable EFCC source revealed that the banks were deeply involved in the fraud under investigation.

The source revealed, “The MDs of the banks were grilled by our interrogators at the EFCC headquarters on Tuesday. They were invited and are being probed in connection with the uncovered N44bn fraud and the N585m involving Halima Shehu and Betta Edu.

“The suspended minister and the coordinator have both given new revelations during their interrogations, and the investigation is still ongoing.’’
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