NIGERIA: Cooperative Exco Dragged Before EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) may have waded into the crisis threatening to tear apart the MTN Employees Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (MEMCOS).

The crisis borders on the uncertainty surrounding the management of the facilities secured from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria by the union’s executive on behalf of members.

A source disclosed that the society had approached the FMBN for an estate development project in Lekki are of Lagos.

The source further disclosed that FMBN agreed to give a total loan N1.6billion for the construction of 284 housing units, being the first phase of the project. The bank was said to have disbursed a total sum of N487, 315, 955, as part of the first tranche of the loan, in May 2012.

However, trouble started in September 2012, when FMBN monitoring report indicated that only N13, 341, 960, 00 of the first tranche was spent on the project, almost five months after the money was released.

Unhappy with the value of job done at the site, FMBN was said to have refused to release further funds, leaving the executive members of MEMCOS to approach a commercial bank for a new loan. The bank allegedly granted the sum of N900million at 22 percent interest rate.

Four members of past executive team of MEMCOS are presently on suspension, after  they were invited by the EFCC to explain their involvement in the alleged fraud rocking the society. They are the president, vice president, PRO and secretary.

Their suspension, findings showed, may not be unconnected with some untidy moves of some present executive members of MEMCOS whose tendencies are seen to be questionable.

Some restive MEMCOS members, who are not happy with the spate of work at the project site, are now crying foul, demanding that more action be taken.

Already, two members of the executive council have resigned  their positions. In a letter he tagged “MEMCOS Intervene: We are being killed”: Zephaniah Ishie, Financial Secretary reportedly said he resigned his position in the executive council because of the activities of  some members of the council.

Another executive member, Vivian Igheghe, said she resigned her position as the social secretary because of ‘the prevailing developments in  the current executive of MEMCOS and the continued distrust and disharmony among  the executive members’.

Former president of MEMCOS, Victor Akintunde, who is presently on suspension, expressed surprise at his present predicament.

Akintunde was quoted as saying that his team only facilitated the loan from FMBN,  adding that the fund was indeed released to the new executives.

But the incumbent president of MEMCOS,  Fehintola Mustapha, denied any impropriety by her executive team.

Spokesperson for EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren neither confirmed nor denied that the matter is being handled by the EFCC. He directed our correspondent to speak with Zonal Head of Public Affairs in Lagos, Mr. Dele Oyewale. Oyewale’s phone rang several times but he didn’t pick it.

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