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Nigerian bank chiefs not arrested over fraud probe in human affairs ministry as claimed online

IN SHORT: As cabinet minister Betta Edu was suspended and questioned over alleged fraud in her ministry, Jaiz and Zenith banks denied claims that their bosses had been arrested in connection with the case.

Nigeria’s minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Betta Edu, was suspended on 8 January 2024 by president Bola Tinubu over allegations of fraud in her ministry.

The president then asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is responsible for fighting financial crime, to investigate. As part of the investigation, the managing directors of Zenith, Jaiz and Providus banks were invited for questioning by the agency.

But several posts on Facebook, including here, here, here, here and here, claim that the directors of Jaiz and Zenith were arrested in connection with the alleged fraud. 

One of the posts reads: “The EFCC arrested the following individuals in connection with bank transactions. Zenith Bank's MD/CEO provides Bank Jaiz Bank.”

But is this true? We checked.


Banks say directors were not arrested

A search of the EFCC's website and its official X handle revealed no evidence of the arrest of the banks’ directors.

In a statement, Jaiz Bank said the EFCC had requested certain documents, which it had provided to assist in the investigation. 

“The interaction was very cordial and Jaiz Bank MD immediately resumed back to his duties,” it added. 

Similarly, Zenith said in a statement reported by the media that claims that its managing director had been arrested were “entirely false”. 

“The Group Managing Director was not arrested or detained by the EFCC or any other anti-graft agency and is currently fulfilling his duties at the bank.”

Developments in the case are being reported by the media. However, we have found no credible reports of the alleged arrests, which would have been expected given the high profile of the bankers.

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