A former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, has denied knowing one James Okwete, a contractor arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly laundering N37 billion.
The arrest was believed to be connected with an ongoing probe of the humanitarian affairs ministry.
Okwete’s arrest was said to be part of a reported probe of three ministers who served in the Buhari administration over an alleged N150 billion graft.
A report published by Punch newspaper alleged that Okwete transferred N6,746,034,000.00 to bureau de change operators, withdrew N540,000,000.00 in cash, purchased luxury cars with N288,348,600.00, and bought luxury houses in Abuja and Enugu with N2,195,115,000.00.
It said 53 companies were also traced to him and that he used 47 companies to secure Federal Government contracts to the tune of N27,423,824,339.86.
However, reacting to the reports linking her to the contractor, Hajiya Sadiya said Okwete is “completely unknown” to her.”
She wrote in her personal X and Instagram handles:
“There have been a number of reports linking me to a purported investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 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 to my person are spurious.
“While I resist the urge to engage in any media trial whatsoever, I have however contacted my Legal Team to explore possible options to seek redress on 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 programmes during my tenure whenever I am called upon to do so.”
Hajiya Sadiya served as minister from 2019 to 2023.