By Matthew Ogune
ABUJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said its Ilorin Zonal Office had arrested Segun Soewu, Director-General, Kwara State Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, over an alleged N2billion fraud.
Announcing the arrest in a statement on Monday, in Abuja, the acting spokesperson of the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said Ogudu Samuel of Brightway Microfinance; A.K. Imam of Magajingari of Microfinance; Adeleke M.S. of Sincere Microfinance Bank; Yusuf Muideen of Balogun Fulani Microfinance Bank; Issa Abdulrasheed of KCMB Microfinance Bank, and Oyebode Asimiyu of Apels Microfinance Bank were also arrested.
“Others who are also being investigated include 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,” he stated.
Orilade disclosed that the anti-graft agency had earlier received intelligence reports alleging fraudulent misappropriation and mismanagement of about N2billion given by the Kwara State Government to assist market men and women across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
The spokesman maintained that, Investigations further revealed that at the point of granting the loans, Soewu and the 16 Microfinance Bank chiefs failed to follow due process.
It was also revealed that the two billion naira loan facility which was designed for lending to the general public to support their businesses and augment their working capital was distributed to highly placed politicians, traditional rulers and prominent people within the 16 LGAs.
He further alleged that, Soewu and one of the Managing Directors of the banks who were grilled by the operatives of the Commission for several hours said: “A prominent and first-class traditional ruler in the state received over N78million cash from the loans, which was designed to assist petty traders but never returned a dime.”
“The traditional ruler through his company, Yafy International Ventures Limited secured the loans without following the due process.”
They disclosed further that “selected and influential market men and women across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state received the sum of N5million each as loans, but did not pay back the money.”
Orilade noted that the Commission also gathered that about 50 percent of the rather controversial loans were shared by highly placed individuals and selected businessmen and women at the expense of other beneficiaries, which defeated the aims and objectives of Small and Medium Enterprise Development.
He continued: “Findings by the operatives of the Commission also indicated that the highly placed individuals who benefited from the loan between 2012 and 2018 failed to pay back the huge loans they secured.
“The arrested suspects are still in the custody of the Commission, and are cooperating with the EFCC,” Orilade added. (The Guardian)