LAGOS – The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for its probe and arrest of Mr Segun Soewu, Director-General, Kwara State Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SME) and six other microfinance bank managing directors, over alleged misappropriation N2 billion.
Comrade Debo Adeniran, CACOL’s Executive Chairman, in a statement issued by Odofin Toyin, the group’s Media and Publication Officer, recalled that the arrests were triggered by an intelligence report that the accused fraudulently misappropriated about N2 billion given by the Kwara State government to assist market men and women across the 16 local government areas of the state.
The CACOL boss said the Microfinance chiefs so far arrested with Soewu were already under investigation, including Ogudu Samuel of Brightway Micro-finance; A.K. Imam of Magajingari of mfb; Adeleke M.S. of Sincere Microfinance Bank; Yusuf Muideen of Bavvlogun Fulani Microfinance Bank; Issa Abdulrasheed of KCMB Microfinance Bank, and Oyebode Asimiyu of Apels Microfinance Bank.
Others, he stated, were Lawal Ayo of Omu-Aran Microfinance Bank; Tope Eniola of Iludun Microfinance Bank, Lawal Folashade of Stockcarp Microfinance Bank, Yusuf Tajudeen of First Heritage Microfinance Bank and Olawoye E.O. of Offa Microfinance Bank.
Adeniran added, “Investigations further revealed that at the point of granting the loans, Soewu and the 11 arrested Microfinance chiefs failed to follow due process and treated the funds as public largesse meant for personal aggrandizement.
“Instead of observing due diligence in dispensing with this money to achieve desired result of enhancing investment capacity of the people and boosting poverty alleviation, the N2 billion loan facility meant for the general public to support their businesses and augment their working capital was distributed to highly placed politicians, traditional rulers and prominent people in the 16 LGAs.
“An example was the confession of Mr. Soewu and one of the managing directors of the banks, who were grilled by EFCC operatives, that a prominent and first class traditional ruler in the state received over N78 million cash from the loans, but never returned a dime.
“The traditional ruler through his company, Yafy International Ventures Ltd., secured the loans without following due process. They disclosed further that selected and influential market men and women across the 16 LGAs of the state received N5 million each as loans, but did not pay back.”
Adeniran stated further that about 50 percent of the controversial loans were allegedly shared by highly placed individuals and selected businessmen and women at the expense of designed beneficiaries that are supposed to assist in the chain of economic rejuvenation.
“It was further revealed that virtually all beneficiaries who got the loan between 2012 and 2018 failed to pay back,” he added.
The CACOL boss added, “This is just one of many of such grand economic manipulations and grand corruption ravaging the Nigerian nation to the effect that people have come to take it that what belongs to government belongs to nobody and could be shared and looted at will rather than using it for the original purpose of national rebirth or economic revamping.
“This is why we urge the EFCC to ensure that all the misappropriated funds looted by these greedy individuals should be repatriated by the EFCC, so that the fund can be used for its primary purpose of boosting the small and medium enterprises to boost the state economy and promote its growth, while culprits must be made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as a deterrent.
Excerpt from Daily Independent Newspaper, August 1, 2019 Publication