The opposition African Action Congress (AAC) in Cross River State has challenged Governor Ben Ayade to come out clean in an alleged N500 million Micro-Finance bank swindle by instituting a probe into the allegation.
State Chairman of the smoking party, Agba Jalingo, says he wants the governor to come out publicly and tell the electorate where the funds that was released for the state Micro-Finance bank is.
While AAC is claiming that the money is not in the bank, the party pointed out that in February 2016, when the governor traveled, he summoned an emergency EXCO meeting presided over by his deputy and N100 million was allegedly approved as ‘’licensing fee’’ for the bank as a requirement by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to the daring party chairman, Governor Ayade told a delegation from the Calabar Chambers of Commerce and Industries led by its President, Efa Imoke, 13 months after in March 2017, that the state has approved N1.00 billion to float the bank.
In November 2018, 33 months after the approval, the governor allegedly commissioned the bank’s headquarters along Ndidem Usang-Iso Road in Calabar after missing two earlier deadlines in April 27 and May 29 of 2018.
‘’At the event, he said all staff of the Garment factory will open accounts there and that the groundbreaking ceremony for the next branch will be done in Boki by December of 2018’’, the AAC chair said, adding ‘’during the commissioning of the bank in Calabar November 2018, the governor said a lot of things some of which were:
The bank would provide for those who ordinarily are technically challenged in terms of access to loans. Our interest is to make people, bring value to humanity and make them feel the dignity of mankind.
The interest regime ranges from zero to five percent, this bank is not for interest or intended to make money but targeted at having women, the vulnerable and the physically challenged to encourage them that there is always a banking sector that can provide for them.
This newly commissioned bank will ensure you become stable while creating an alternative income rather than depending on the State Government.
For all young men, as we offer you appointments and create jobs for you in this regime, you will now put food on the table and with hands on the plough as the microfinance bank will be available to give you loan for you to do that 30,000 hectares of cocoa, to give us over 60,000 hectares of rice farm that we are looking for, or organic bamboo plantation to feed our toothpick factory.
‘’After raising these high hopes and expectations, eight months after the opening of the bank and release of N500 million, not a dime has been given to anyone. There are only two human beings who come to the building un-routinely and the bank isn’t offering any service.’’
Continuing, the opposition said the information available to them tend to suggest that after approval of the N500 million, the governor allegedly diverted the funds and accordingly stalled plans for the micro finance bank.
‘’In fact, after renting a small apartment and poaching one Mr. Tony, from Ecobank as manager, the bank has remained non-operational till today not to talk of the Boki branch that was supposed to start in December 2018’’, the party further alleged.