Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested six managing directors of microfinance banks and Director General of the Kwara State Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Mr. Segun Soewu, over an alleged N2 billion fraud.
The bank MDs arrested were Ogudu Samuel of Brightway Micro Finance; A.K. Imam of Magajingari Micro Finance Bank; Adeleke M.S. of Sincere Micro Finance Bank; Yusuf Muideen of Balogun Fulani Micro Finance Bank; Issa Abdulrasheed of KCMB Micro Finance Bank, as well as Oyebode Asimiyu of Apels Micro Finance bank.
Acting Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, who made the disclosure in a statement yesterday, said the separate arrests were effected by operatives of the Ilorin Zonal office of the commission.
He said the anti-graft agency went after the suspects upon discovery that the N2 billion, which was meant to serve as soft loan facilities to boost small scale businesses across the state, was allegedly distributed to highly placed politicians, traditional rulers and other prominent people across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
He added that 50 per cent of the loan was allegedly shared to a select group of businessmen and women, who failed to pay back the loan, as was originally conceived.
Apart from the arrest of the septet, Orilade said five other persons were being investigated over similar allegations of fraud.
The quintet, according to him, include: Lawal Ayo of Omu-Aran Micro Finance Bank; Tope Eniola of Iludun Micro Finance Bank; Lawal Folashade of Stockcarp Micro Finance Bank; Yusuf Tajudeen of First Heritage Micro Finance Bank, and Olawoye E.O. of Offa Micro Finance bank.
“The anti-graft agency had earlier received intelligence reports alleging fraudulent misappropriation and mismanagement of about N2 billion given by the Kwara State Government to assist market men and women across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
“Investigations further revealed that at the point of granting the loans, Soewu and the 16 Micro Finance Bank chiefs failed to follow due process.
“It was also revealed that the N2 billion 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,” Orilade said.
This was as he claimed that the agency’s DG and one of the banks’ MDs, had admitted, after hours of interrogation by operatives, to allegedly misapplying some of the funds.
“A prominent and First Class traditional ruler in the state received over N78 million 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.
“Selected and influential market men and women across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state received the sum of N5 million each as loans, but did not pay back the money,” they were quoted to have confessed.
Orilade further disclosed that the Commission, in the course of investigation, also “gathered that about 50 per cent 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 stated: “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.”