The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized the international passports of the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, and her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, over the ongoing investigations.
Betty Edu, who arrived at the EFCC headquarters, Abuja at 10am on Tuesday, was still being quizzed by the commission’s investigators as of the time of filing this report at 7pm.
As the EFCC interrogated the suspended minister over the N44billion fraud uncovered in the ministry, it was learnt that managing directors of three commercial banks were also questioned on Tuesday over the fraud.
The scandal involving Edu burst open after a leaked memo revealed that the suspended minister directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585million to a private account owned by one Oniyelu Bridget, who the ministry claimed currently serves as the Project Accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups.
The minister had claimed that the N585million payment was meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states, describing the allegations against her as baseless.
The Media Assistant to the minister, Rasheed Olarewaju, said in a statement that it was legal within the civil service for such payments to be made into private accounts of staff members, especially project accountants.
In deference to public pressure, the President on Monday suspended Edu and directed her to hand over to the permanent secretary in the ministry.
On Tuesday, Edu honoured the EFCC invitation and she was subjected to marathon interrogation by investigators.
It was learnt that her personal and official passports were taken away by detectives and she was barred from travelling out of the country.