How Abia House of Assembly compromised investigative panel reports on N200m Micro Finance Fraud and Matters arising— Group alleges

A group under the aegis of Abia Integrity Group on Thursday said the Abia House of Assembly led by Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji some months ago in a widely advertised siting set up a committee headed by Hon. Barr Jerry Uzosike and others to investigate the alleged misappropriation of N200m that was meant for the Abia Small and medium scale Micro finance bank in the 17 local government areas of Abia state.

The group alleged that Abians were excited that at last the state and Abians will know the story behind the non existing Abia Micro finance bank that the government of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has always trumpeted as one the achievements towards lifting the youth out of poverty.

“We started sensing normal government efforts towards compromising the committee when the second day siting was cancelled and media representatives sent out and advised not to show up again.”

“This was followed by the man at the centre of the storm, Hon Chinenye Nwogu the Special Adviser to the Governor on inter governmental affairs and State focal person on federal social investment Programmes reaching out to concerned Abians and legislators preaching for them to see reason and calm down on their positions as some key people in government were in the picture of what transpired in the N200m scam.”

According to the group, the members of the committee especially those in the PDP were not speared of the threat from the executive. Many were told to forget about their second term ambition if they continue on the path they have chosen.”

“Our concern on this report is about the complicity of the opposition members in Abia house of assembly like Hon Obinna Ichita, Hon. Chijioke Chukwu and other members of opposition in that committee.”

“We had expected these non PDP members to use the opportunity provided by this investigative hearing to help strengthen governance structure in the state but we are not disappointed as this has confirmed our position that there is no opposition members in Abia house of Assembly, though we understand good number of these opposition members did not sign the reports, at least we are sure Hon Obinna Ichita did not sign that report as presented by Hon Jerry Uzosike.”

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“We expect a minority report from these members that did not sign or agree with that reports as submitted by Hon. Barr Jerry Uzosike.”

The Posers for the Speaker, Jerry Uzosike and his members are as follows:

  1. It’s now clear that either the house committee did not understand their job which shows the level of intelligence of people we have in Abia house of assembly or they were bought over and completely compromised.
  2. Abians were almost begging for this committee to send in their report after 8 months and what we are presented with is this poorly, inarticulate, uninspiring report as if all Abians are kindergarten.

The committee failed in the following ways:

a: From the report submitted by the panel to the Abia house of assembly, they stated that N200m was sort by the committee for licensing/ establishment of 17 Muti layer Micro Finance for the 17 local governments in Abia state.

b:This same panel forgot to point out that N108m out of the 200m was used to procure an old licence of a distressed Micro finance bank that had gone into liquidation.

c: They closed their eyes on the fact that new licence is not same as going to buy an old licence without changing to the new name Abia Micro Finance bank if it ever existed .

d: They did not ask for the new approval that gave the Hon Chinenye Nwogu committee the power or right to change from 17 Micro finance new licence to acquisition of old distress bank with its liabilities.

e: This house committee failed to question why they spent 108m in acquiring one old bank against licence that would have enable Abia operate from 17 local government locations .

f: They decided to ignore the illegality of deceiving Abians especially the youths that, there was an Abia Micro finance bank when in reality and before law there was non .How can the committee ignore such deceit in their final report .

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g: They ignored the submission of the Permanent secretary of the ministry of SME Mr Nkwachukwu Agomuo that the approval of the governor was to the Minstry of SME but Chinenye Nwogu committee decided to work with his committee ignoring the main Minstry in the whole disbursement of the N200m.

h: The Jerry Uzosike committee did not find it strange that then Commissioner for small and medium scale enterprise Mr Wachukwu stated in his submissions that he never knew about the existence of the bank as nothing of such was mentioned in the handover note presented to him on assumption of office 3 months earlier and was merely invited a day to the commissioning of the Abia Micro Finance bank at Aba.

i: The committee also deliberately ignored the misnomer in this committee going to the board of internal revenue (BIR)to borrow N200m from Keystone bank ltd on their behalf without recourse to Minstry of finance that is Statutorily allowed by law to borrow money on behalf of the State.

j: The committee did not summon the board of internal revenue to explain why they decided to make themselves a conduit for fruad even when they brandished governors approval for such.

K: The fraud in sourcing a loan of N200m without going through the Minstry of finance as the offical obligo to the State.

L: They failed to understand that there is a unit called Minstry of finance incorporated(MOFI) that is responsible for warehousing State,s investment and equity as done even at the federal level . It’s unfortunate that the civil service rules have gone to the winds under this administration.

The committee cannot reference any bank statement from Keystone bank to confirm that N38m was paid as the cost of the bank.

The bank statement from Key stone bank would have shown the balance of N92m if any but the committee looked the other way since many among them have been threatened.

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The N19m stated as loan repayment in that report is fake. Does it suggest that 19m was deducted from the SME account as loan repayment when BIR we are told paid back monthly from their collections.

The N11m for vechles is also questionable and vague as the number of cars were not stated .

The 8.728.000.00 for plants and equipment is conflicting with N7.263.000.00 for banking software and security infrastructure. These does not add up as some explanations needs to be made .

The 4.166.000.00 for the official commissioning is also questionable. Did they mobilize the entire 17 local government in that day.

If the Micro finance bank had worked for months before now, was it done pro bono as the statement did not mention salaries and emoluments within this period.

As professional accountant, anytime accounts are ending in round figures as seen here, note that there are hiding expense heads being covered up.

In summary, The house committee headed by Jerry Uzosike ,The Speaker Chinenye Nwogu , Emeh Okoro and the entire committee should note that Abains are not satisfied with the report as efforts were not even made to cover this fruad in an unprofessional way.

“Abians are being taken for granted as if we are all morons. We expected more from this committee members as Abians are not that docile as they think”, the statement read.

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