EFCC Recovers N39.8bn Out Of N44.8bn Allegedly Embezzled From NSIP

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recovered about N39.8 billion out of N44.8billion allegedly embezzled from the government account by former National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, Newtelegraph report.

This came as the EFCC is currently investigating three second generation banks for their complicity in the illegal transfers of the funds meant for poverty alleviation and other intervention schemes of the current government. Shehu, the sacked National Coordinator of NSIPA in concert with a Director of Finance allegedly signed off N44billion from government account in five days between 27th and 31st December 2023.

Competent sources said the year-end transfer of the N44. 8 billion unspent funds was a regular practice in the Ministry, but discovered this time by Betta Edu, who immediately reported the incident to the EFCC. The former NSIPA boss allegedly transferred the funds to some individual accounts and companies through some commercial banks without any approval from the President or the Federal Executive Council and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu. Recall that activities of the Ministry under former Minister, Dr. Sadiya Umar Farouq, came under serious criticism over multiple cases of fraud being investigated in respect of government’s intervention funds like School Feeding, Conditional Cash Transfer and N-Power over issues bothering on lack of accountability and transparency, thereby eroding public trust.

Last year, over N10 billion was recovered from various consultants at the resumption of Betta Edu in the Ministry. Meanwhile, as operatives of the EFCC beam searchlight and scrutinise records of funds disbursement by agencies under the Ministry, the Arewa Integrity Group ( AIG) has urged EFCC to be thorough and shun cover up in its investigation exercise.

The Group’s Convener, Al- haji Ibrahim Sambo, at a press conference in Kano yesterday, commended the government for enlisting EFCC to investigate the disappearance of billions of Naira from an agency established to reduce the suffering of the masses. However, AIG was worried that, rather than allow the Federal Government investigation to go on unhindered, there was a well-orchestrated effort to muddle the water and create chaos at the entire ministry.

“This plot is exemplified in a multitude of fake reports in the media seeking to drag the Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, into the mess of the alleged diversion of N44.8 billion from the NSIPA account. As an Integrity group that aligns itself with the Federal Government’s anti-corruption stance, we support the EFCC’s investigation and we believe that anyone involved will be identified and punished according to the law.

“Be that as it may, we are constrained to add that we will not stand idle as corruption fights back and seeks to destroy the reputation of the innocent. From our monitoring of the activities of various officials of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we can confidently state that Dr Betta Edu is one of the high achievers”, AIG Convener said.

“It is common knowledge that the money spent for the national verification of the National Social Register, (NSR), quoted by some critics as evidence of Dr Edu’s collusion in the grand theft at the NSIPA, was approved by President Tinubu and the Federal Executive Council in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda to expand the NSR as well as sanitize its operations. “It is also public knowledge that all the programmes embarked on by the Ministry under the current Minister thus far, including Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, Grants for Vulnerable Groups and others all secured the approval of the President”. Similarly, another group, Northern Zero Corruption Coalition, has urged the EFCC not be intimidated in the current investigation because it touches on the needs of the poor.

The group expressed worries that there was an attempt to implicate Dr. Edu, who within a few months on the ministerial duty, proved to be so transparent and without tribal sentiments.

The National Coordinator, Barrister Shamsu Dandaji, said in a release that, it is on notice that Halima Shehu served on the position between 2017 and 2022 as National Coordinator and until last week as National Coordinator of NSIPA He said: “For over 15 times Betta Edu has visited the North with several humanitarian interventions in Niger, Zamfara, Katsina, Borno, Plateau, Nasarawa, and so many other states, while the South has had her impact over time”.


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