EFCC arrests Zenith, Providus, Jaiz CEOs over involvement in Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farouk’s alleged fraud

The Chief Executive Officers 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, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, Peoples Gazette reports.

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 told Peoples Gazette on Tuesday.

The anti-graft agency is presently probing numerous instances of substantial public funds directed into private accounts, an action sanctioned by Ms. Edu and Farouq using their positions as ministers.

Ms Farouq, who oversaw 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 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 directives, the sources told The Gazette. 

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

EFCC spokesman Dele Oyewale sidestepped inquiry into the matter. 

Meanwhile, Ms Edu has said her hands are clean, and she is committed to fighting corruption amid the uproar over her illegal request to wire funds into a private account.

Ms Edu made this statement in a Facebook post she addressed to Npower beneficiaries.

“Dear Npower Beneficiaries, I want to assure you all to remain calm and steadfast amidst the recent accusations and suspension I am facing. My heart and hands are clean, and I am committed to fighting corruption,” Ms Edu said.

She added, “It’s essential to be aware that some individuals with impure intentions may use government machinery against you. Stay strong, and together, we will navigate through these challenges.”

There have been several financial corruption investigations since President Bola Tinubu assumed power, resulting in the detention of prominent figures like the disgraced CBN governor Godwin Emefiele and EFCC chair Rasheed Bawa.