Head of civil service hospitalised after she collapsed during EFCC questioning over N3bn scam

HEAD of the civil service of the federation Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita has been admitted to hospital after she collapsed during interrogation at the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a N3bn ($8,236,770) contract scam.


Mrs Oyo-Ita had been in detention for four days where she was being questioned over the abuse of duty tour allowance, money laundering and the stealing of government funds. Under the weight of the questioning, she collapsed and was granted administrative bail so she could receive medical attention at an Abuja hospital.


She has been given restricted access to visitors at the private hospital in Jabi area of Abuja where she is receiving treatment. Although the administrative bail was granted on the condition that she would return for further interrogation, she has not been able to return to the anti-corruption agency’s office since she was allowed to go.


About N600m has been traced to the account of one of Mrs Oyo-Ita's key aides who has been unable to give any justifiable explanation for the money. Consequently, the EFCC has blocked the account and has initiated the process of obtaining an interim forfeiture clause to seize the cash.


Preliminary findings confirmed that about N3bn has been traced to the head of service, which came in through proxy companies. Detectives uncovered slush funds linked to the head of service while probing the activities of a former minister under who she served as permanent secretary.


One EFCC source said: “Preliminary investigation confirmed that she used different fronts or cronies to obtain contracts from ministries, departments and agencies.  While tracing embezzlement by the ex-minister, detectives stumbled on diversion of funds into proxy companies which the head of service has relationships with.


“The startling revelations made detectives to dig further into her activities as a permanent secretary and head of service. There is proof of how she secured contracts through proxy firms from some ministries including special duties, power, works and others.


"There was a case of abuse of office because there was evidence of pressure on permanent secretaries to get her contracts. Investigators also discovered that she was involved in falsification of duty tour allowances and estacodes."