Betta Edu: EFCC quizzes Zenith, Providus, Jaiz banks CEOs

The  Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Zenith, Providus, and Jaiz banks have been apprehended by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), in connection with financial misappropriation and fraud linked to disgraced Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, and her predecessor, Sadiyya Umar-Farouk.

The banking executives, who have been under stealth scrutiny since the public outcry over the unscrupulous diversion of public funds into private accounts, are now in EFCC custody, multiple credible sources within the Presidency.

It was gathered that the senior back executives were quizzed by EFCC interrogators at the Commission’s headquarters, Jabi, Abuja as of yesterday.

According to reports, the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Betta Edu, is currently being held and is undergoing interrogation by the EFCC over ₦585million scandal.

Also, the embattled Co-ordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA), domiciled in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is being probed by the EFCC over an alleged ₦44bn fraud.

Confirming the probe of the senior bank executives to our correspondent on Tuesday, an EFCC source revealed that Zenith, Providus, and Jaiz banks are being questioned over the ₦44.5bn fraud uncovered in the ministry involving Edu and Shehu.

The source said, “The CEOs and MDs of Zenith Bank, Providus Bank, and Jaiz Bank are currently being grilled by our interrogators here at the headquarters. They were invited and are being probed in connection with the uncovered ₦44bn fraud and the ₦585million involving Halima Shehu and Betta Edu”.

“The suspended minister and the coordinator have both made new revelations during their interrogations, and the investigation is still ongoing.”, he stated.

Recall that Edu was suspended by President Bola Tinubu on Monday, over an alleged N585m cash transfer saga.

Ms Farouq, who superintended the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under the previous administration, is also under investigation for the mismanagement of at least N37 billion in public funds designated for the conditional cash transfer programme of then-President Muhammadu Buhari.

The sources told newsmen that large-scale movement of funds into private accounts was partly facilitated by a potential deliberate oversight in flagging suspicious transactions — a responsibility banks bear under various anti-financial crime laws and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s directives. 

The banks did not immediately respond to requests for comments regarding their CEOs’ detention.

EFCC spokesman Dele Oyewale also was unable to respond to inquiry into the matter as of the time of filing this report.

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