NewsInvestigations Ongoing, We've Not Cleared Anyone In Humanitarian Ministry Probe – EFCC

Investigations Ongoing, We’ve Not Cleared Anyone In Humanitarian Ministry Probe – EFCC

April 14, (THEWILL)- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says no official, individual, agency or any other entity has been cleared in its ongoing investigation into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, urging the public to ignore any claim to the contrary.

Dele Oyewale, Head of Media & Publicity at the anti-graft agency, who made this known in a statement on Sunday, said the clarifications became necessary following a rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the investigation.

Oyewale further clarified that the investigation is not centred on individuals but a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices, including banks, adding that those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

Meanwhile, Oyewale has disclosed that the EFCC is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse.

The anti-graft agency said a good number of celebrities have made useful statements to the Commission while more have been invited.

Titled “Setting the Records Straight on Investigations of Humanitarian Ministry”, the statement read: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7 billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid-19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.

“On the issue of the works of the Commission against Naira abuse, dollarization of the economy and the enforcement of all extant laws relating to them, the EFCC appreciates the avalanche of public awakening, support and involvement demonstrated so far. Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the Commission to video recording of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life. These gestures amply demonstrate the rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo.

“To this end, the Commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira. Old videos being exhumed and flying around for the attention of the Commission are noted as the Commission is sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024. However, going forward, new videos of such infractions will be investigated and prosecuted.

“At the moment, the Commission is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse. Many of them have made useful statements to the Commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter. The EFCC will not relent in its no-sacred-cow mode of operations and the public should be wary of running afoul of laws against the crime.”

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The recent gathering of the All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders in Owerri directly reminds me of my Church’s national convention in those days. During that religious programme, we exchanged a great degree of pleasantries with Pastors and fellow pious members in attendance from other local assemblies. During the weeklong activities, we always had ample time to meet and interact with our good old friends. Also, the yearly meetings offered the congregation a sense of reunion for brainstorming a way forward for the church’s administration. Who-is-who in the ruling party’s family of the South-East extraction, including Imo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra States, assembled in Owerri and deeply discussed certain issues pertaining to more winnings of the party and slight internal issues affecting it. In the meeting, former Deputy Governors, past and present Ministers, National Assembly members, ex-States’ Assembly Speakers cum lawmakers, party LGAs Chairmen and other members were in attendance. The party members were impressed during the parley at the Landmark Event Centre, Owerri. Southeast APC, under the leadership of the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has led the party to an enviable pedestal of its envious level. The party’s ability to have produced a President, in the person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is really a milestone and a boost to the party. But the party in Southeast Nigeria should address its visible and invisible challenges squarely. One of the problems now facing Southeast APC is insecurity in the area and the inability to take over Abia, Anambra and Enugu States gubernatorial seats. The party, particularly in the Southeast zone, should boldly take a step towards stemming killings across the region by meeting the President on the release of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Insecurity is affecting the economic development of the people of the area. Our governors should recognise this fact and do something about it. During the meeting, the host Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, made a point that elicited the consciousness of the people. He said the Southeast governors should be thinking of meeting President Bola Tinubu with the aim of adding more States to the Southeast. That statement is a “take-home message”. If his counterparts should tow the same line with him, the region would go a long way. The All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to project itself as the most organised political party in Nigeria. The citizens in the South-East are not happy over the current hard times being faced by Nigerians even though their members (party loyalists) are not immune to the negative effects of the hardship. The APC should show a strong concern towards deepening democracy, promoting good governance and ensuring the people are happy. The five governors, irrespective of political party affiliation, should come together and move the Southeast forward. They should collectively, without looking at the Federal Government, devise means of arresting the unprecedented security challenges in the region. Southeast has just six States and is still wallowing in retrogression and abject setbacks. National Assembly members in the green and red chambers should be speaking out for the expected repositioning of five States. The lawmaker representing Imo North Senatorial District, Engr. Patrick Ndubueze, since his resumption in the Senate, has never stopped bringing to the floor of the Red Chambers, the needs of the people of the zone and reasons the Federal Government should join hands with Governor Hope Uzodimma to come to their aid. Engineer Ndubueze, who Chairs the Senate Committee on Steel, has not been lagging when it comes to activities that concern his constituents. Also, House of Representatives members from Imo are doing commendable jobs. May God bless the APC.
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