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, the Director-General, Kwara State Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SME) and six (6) other microfinance bank Managing Directors, over alleged #2bn (Two Billion Naira) misappropriated funds.
In a statement issued by its media and publication officer, Odofin Toyin, on behalf of the Executive Chairman Debo Adeniran stated, “The arrests were triggered through 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.
“It was gathered that Mr. Soewu and the Microfinance chiefs already arrested or under investigation include: Ogudu Samuel of Brightway Micro-finance; A.K. Imam of Magajingari of mfb; Adeleke M.S. of Sincere mfb; Yusuf Muideen of Balogun Fulani mfb; Issa Abdulrasheed of KCMB mfb, and Oyebode Asimiyu of Apels Microfinance bank. Others are Lawal Ayo of Omu-Aran mfb; Tope Eniola of Iludun mfb, Lawal Folashade of Stockcarp mfb, Yusuf Tajudeen of First Heritage mfb and Olawoye E.O. of Offa Microfinance bank.
“Also, 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 N2bn 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 N78million 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 N5m each as loans, but did not payback. It was also gathered that about 50 percent of the controversial loans were 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.”
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.” He said.