Anti-graft investigators on Tuesday have started grilling suspended minister Betta Edu over alleged N585m disbursement fraud, Channels Television has learnt.
Edu arrived at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Jabi, Abuja, at 11am, a top source in the commission told Channels Television.
The embattled minister came alongside her aides and lawyer and is currently facing EFCC investigators.
Edu’s appearance at the EFCC office came barely a day after she was suspended by President Bola Tinubu.
Edu was caught in a N585m disbursement scandal involving the humanitarian affairs ministry, attracting widespread criticisms from rights groups and activists.
The predicament of the 37-year-old was worsened when the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, confirmed that although her office received a request from the humanitarian ministry to make certain payments, her office did not act on it.
On Monday, the President wielded his big stick and suspended the 37-year-old with immediate effect, making his party’s ex-national women leader the first to be removed from his 48-man cabinet inaugurated last August.
The President also ordered EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, “to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transactions” involving the ministry and “one or more agencies thereunder”.
Edu, 37, the youngest in the President’s cabinet before her suspension, was a fast-rising Amazon in the political space having occupied state and national offices at a young age.
Before her ministerial appointment last August, she was Cross River State Commissioner for Health and the National Women Leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). Edu was a prominent figure in the campaign train of Tinubu, the then APC presidential candidate, during the electioneering process that brought the ex-Lagos governor into office as President.
Edu clinched her ministerial appointment about three months after Tinubu was sworn in as President. Her tenure as minister was, however, short-lived barely six months after, perhaps the shortest tenure by a minister in a long while.
Meanwhile, the EFCC quizzed Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Farouq, on Monday, over an alleged laundering of N37.1 billion during her tenure as a minister. She was allowed to go home after a 12-hour marathon interrogation and is expected to return on Tuesday for further clarifications on sundry issues that the Commission flagged in the course of its preliminary investigations.
By Kayode Oyero
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