EFCC detains coordinator of social investment scheme


The National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, has been taken into custody by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) shortly after her suspension.

Her detention is linked to the transfer of N17 billion from the NSIPA account to certain questionable accounts within a week. The EFCC’s interception and recovery of the funds followed alleged payments of billions of naira by the agency without the necessary presidential approval.

Shehu’s suspension, initiated based on initial investigations, aims to facilitate an unimpeded inquiry into the financial irregularities. There is speculation that the EFCC’s recommendation to suspend her was made to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Shehu was apprehended around 8 pm on January 2 after a search of her home and office. She is currently under interrogation.

The EFCC is reportedly also closing in on a director of the agency who is believed to be involved in the substantial payments to the suspicious accounts.

Furthermore, EFCC operatives are scheduled to interrogate former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, for allegedly laundering N37,170,855,753.44 during her tenure through a contractor, James Okwete.

Investigations have revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari took decisive action because Shehu had defied a presidential directive to collaborate with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, to disburse outstanding stipends to N-Power program beneficiaries before Christmas.

The N-Power program, initiated by ex-President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle youth unemployment, has left approximately 400,000 beneficiaries without their monthly stipends in recent months.

An anonymous source stated, “The EFCC raised a red flag on the suspicious payments of billions of Naira into some individual and corporate accounts. Preliminary investigation showed that there was no presidential approval for the payment of such humongous funds.”

“Pre-emptive steps were immediately put in place to track the suspicious funds. So far, about N17 billion has been intercepted and recovered from some accounts by this commission. Our team is working round the clock to trace the remaining billions of Naira suspected to have been laundered from the Social Investment cash.”

“After her suspension, EFCC operatives laid siege to her office in Maitama District but took almost two hours to arrest her. While the siege lasted, the EFCC chairman directed that the operatives should not break into her office or her residence. Eventually, she was arrested and detained by our team. Her grilling immediately started based on preliminary findings.”

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