Pauline Tallen, the former minister of women’s affairs, claims that she visited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on her own initiative and was not formally invited or interrogated by the anti-graft organisation.
The former minister claimed in a statement made public on Saturday, June 3, that the purpose of her trip to the EFCC was to refute some accusations made against her.
“Around 9 o’clock yesterday night, rumours that I had been detained by the EFCC started to spread. Several media outlets that were either malicious or misinformed carried this fake news. I would like to clarify that I approached the EFCC voluntarily to address the recent, blatantly false accusation made against me, Tallen said.
According to reports, the EFCC detained and questioned the former minister for women’s affairs in Abuja on suspicion of money laundering.
Tallen is under investigation, according to a report citing an EFCC source, for the alleged misappropriation and diversion of N2 billion in funds.
The ex-minister arrived at our Abuja Zonal Command (not the headquarters) on invitation at around 12 o’clock, but as of 8:30 o’clock she was still being questioned by commission investigators.
“She’s being investigated for alleged misappropriation of funds and corrupt enrichment to the tune of N2 billion, and part of the money was allegedly diverted from the African First Lady Peace Mission Project,” the source was cited as saying.
However, Tallen claimed in the statement that despite the fact that she had previously been the subject of fraud accusations, she had delayed responding to them out of respect for the late President Muhammadu Buhari.
“First off, if this had been a legitimate inquiry, the decent and fitting course of action would have been to write to the Ministry for Women Affairs and inquire about any funds sent to the Ministry.
It is extremely unprofessional, shows a lack of respect for the Ministry of Women Affairs, and is damaging to my person and character, said Tallen, to jump into the open without any proper formal correspondence.
A former minister has visited the EFCC office twice in the past week, both times coming out to refute reports that the events were related to allegations of corruption.
On Friday, June 2, it was reported that former Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi denied rumours that the EFCC was looking into him for an alleged N4 billion fraud.
According to the report, Fayemi was interrogated on June 1 at the EFCC’s zonal command office in Kwara State.
His interrogation reportedly came after the anti-graft agency had invited him to respond to allegations of money laundering totaling N4 billion made against him last month.
On the other hand, Fayemi stated in a statement that was released on Friday, June 2, by his spokesperson, Ahmad Sajoh, that the alleged misappropriation of N4 billion was not brought up during his discussions with EFCC officials on Thursday.
He asserted that the sole purpose of the visit was to respond to what he characterised as a groundless petition that had been submitted by a group with the intention of smearing his reputation. According to him, he was given permission to leave the commission’s office a few hours after he arrived there and answered questions posed to him there.
“We wish to note, as well, that contrary to the news that made the rounds about a purported N4 billion fraud case against Dr. Fayemi, no such allegation was raised in his conversation with the EFCC. This is something that we would like to bring to your attention.
“All he did was respond to a frivolous petition from an anonymous group, the so-called Ekiti Patriotic Coalition,” the statement said. “We strongly believed that this faceless group is a front for some anti-Fayemi politicians who are trying to soil the former governor’s good name and image.”