Former minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has denied knowing James Okwete, a contractor arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)for allegedly laundering N37 billion.
She also stated that she served as a minister with a strong sense of duty and that she would defend her activities if called upon to do so.
Umar-Farouq responded to the alleations in a statement in on X on Monday.
Chronicle NG previously reported that details of an ongoing EFCC investigation revealed that N37bn was transferred from the Federal Government’s coffers and transmitted to 38 distinct bank accounts domiciled in five legacy commercial banks owned or affiliated with Okwete.
Responding to the development on Monday, Umar-Farouq said, “There have been a number of reports linking me to a purported investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission into the activities of one James Okwete, someone completely unknown to me.
“James Okwete neither worked for nor represented me in any way whatsoever. The linkages and associations with my person are spurious. While I resist the urge to engage in any media trial whatsoever, I have contacted my legal team to explore possible options to seek redress for the malicious attack on my person.
“I remain proud to have served my country as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with every sense of responsibility and would defend my actions, stewardship, and programs during my tenure whenever I am called upon to do so.”
The EFCC unearthed N37 billion allegedly laundered in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs under former Minister Umar-Farouq.
The money was transferred from the Federal Government’s coffers and sent to 38 separate bank accounts located in five legacy commercial banks owned by or affiliated with the contractor, Okwete.
Okwete allegedly transferred N6,746,034,000.00 to Bureau De Change Operators, withdrew N540,000,000.00 in cash, acquired luxury cars with N288,348,600.00, and purchased luxury mansions in Abuja and Enugu State with N2,195,115,000.00 after receiving the funds.
Meanwhile, reliable EFCC sources revealed that Okwete was arrested by EFCC agents and is now imprisoned at the commission’s headquarters in Jabbi, Abuja, as part of the ongoing investigation.
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is the parent ministry for eight agencies, including the National Social Investment Office, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internationally Displaced Persons.
Umar-Farouq was the first Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development Minister. Former President Muhammadu Buhari selected her as the youngest cabinet member in July 2019.