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EFCC arrests Kwara SMED chief, others over ‘N2 billion fraud’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested and detained the Director-General of Kwara State Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED), Mr Segun Soewu, over alleged N2 billion fraud.

A statement issued by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity in the state, Mr Gbenga Adewoye, in Ilorin on Monday, said Soewu was arrested alongside Managing Directors of six microfinance banks.

The statement listed the six managing directors as Mr Ogudu Samuel of Brightway Microfinance Bank, Mr A. K. Imam of Magajingari Microfinance Bank and Mr Adeleke M. S. of Sincere Microfinance Bank.

Others include, Mr Yusuf Muideen of Balogun Fulani Microfinance Bank, Mr Issa Abdulrasheed of KCMB Microfinance Bank and Oyebode Asimiyu of Apels Microfinance Bank.

According to Adewoye, all the seven suspects are presently being interrogated by the operatives of the EFCC.

The anti-graft body also gave the names of those under investigation to include Lawal Ayo of Omu-Aran Microfinance Bank, Tope Eniola of Iludun Microfinance Bank and Lawal Folashade of Stockcarp Microfinance Bank.

Others, according to EFCC, are Yusuf Tajudeen of First Heritage Microfinance Bank and Olawoye E. O. of Offa Microfinance Bank.

He said the anti graft body had earlier received intelligence reports over alleged fraud and mismanagement of over N2 billion given by the state government to assist market men and women across the 16 local government areas.

“It was discovered during investigations that at the point of granting the loans, the director-general of SMED and the managing directors of 16 microfinance banks failed to follow due process.

“It was also revealed that the N2 billion was meant for lending to interested members of the public to support their businesses and augment their working capital.

“The money was, however, said to have been distributed to highly placed politicians, traditional rulers and prominent individuals across the state.

“Soewu and one of the managing directors of the banks, during interrogation by the operatives of the commission, confessed that ‘a prominent and first class traditional ruler in the state received over N78 million cash from the loans.

“The money, which was designed to assist petty traders, were taken and not refunded,” Adewoye said.

The EFCC spokesman also said that a certain traditional ruler, through his company, Yafy International Ventures Limited, secured from the loan without following due process.

He said anti-graft agency also discovered that some selected and influential market men and women across the 16 council areas of the state received N5 million each as loans without paying back.

According to him, about 50 per cent of the said controversial loans were shared by some highly placed individuals and selected businessmen and women at the expense of other beneficiaries.

“They defeated the aims and objectives of giving out the loans, which was for the improvement of small and medium enterprises,” he said.

Adewoye said further that findings by the EFCC operatives indicated that the highly placed individuals, who benefited from the loans between 2012 and 2018, failed to pay them back.

He said that the arrested suspects were still in custody, while efforts were ongoing to arrest those highly placed individuals, including the first class traditional ruler, who received the said loans without following due process.

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