- NNPC Cooperative Members Lament Fraud, Delayed Loans
Some members of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Cooperative Multipurpose Society Limited have expressed dissatisfaction over delay in getting loans applied for from the cooperative.
The cooperators, who blamed the delay on the fraud allegedly perpetrated by former leadership of the society, said they now waited for between six to eight months to get loans.
The past executive ran the society for two terms, from January 1, 2011, to December 2015,.
It was gathered that the former president of the cooperative, Mr. Joseph Ojeyemi, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last year for the alleged fraud estimated at millions of naira.
The EFCC had since commenced investigations into the fraud.
At the Annual General Meeting of the cooperative at Regency Hall, Ikeja, Lagos State, on Thursday, August 11, 2017, angry members demanded the outcome of the investigation from the current President, Mr. Akin Akinrera.
The members, who did not want their names in print, lamented that the cooperative had failed in its obligation to provide loans for those who needed them as and when due.
“Many members have applied for loans since March 2017. Up till now, they have not got them. Some submitted their applications since January 2017 without any response. What is the essence of a cooperative if members cannot get loans at appropriate time to carry out one project or another?
“The EFCC should hasten up its investigations on the fraud and let us know what actually transpired,” a member said.
An elderly man stated that the issues in the cooperative had brought hardship to many members.
“Members are suffering and many are sick, yet we don’t have access to loans for treatment,” he added.
Another member said, “We urge the EFCC to also bring some executive members that worked with the former president to book because they were part of the trustees of the society, with Ojeyemi as the President. We heard that Ojeyemi is attempting to use his influence to bring in a new leadership to head our society.”
The current President of the society, Mr. Akin Akinrera, said EFCC operatives had visited the society’s projects in Kaduna and Abuja, carried out during Ojeyemi’s administration to investigate their costs.
He noted that the property of the society in Ikoyi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, would be sold to generate funds.
Akinrera said, “I am fully aware of the avoidable hardship which our members are experiencing as a result of liquidity problem created for the society, but I plead for patience and understanding, as we are taking active steps to address it. I don’t have any reason to set up the immediate past president or anybody whatsoever.
“Every right thinking person in the NNPC knows that there is no way I could have had a hand in the petition which has thrown up many critical issues.”
However, Ojeyemi denied the fraud allegation against him, saying he had contributed immensely to the development of the society.
He said the truth would be revealed at the end of the EFCC investigations.
He said, “It is a bloody lie. There are always two sides to a story. Just wait until the EFCC concludes its investigation. What is going on is a smear campaign. Whatever the EFCC comes out with will be the final. Anybody can make any allegation. But it is the investigations that will tell.
“The current president is the one causing the problem in that society. Members are not happy with him because he is giving an impression that the society is bankrupt. You don’t wash your dirty linen in the public. People are withdrawing their savings and membership.
“I didn’t embezzle any money. The auditors’ report is not true. I still have a copy of a letter the present president sent to the auditors. What is happening is political, not fraud. I don’t understand why anyone would want to damage my reputation.
“An allegation was made against me; a director at Alausa sent a letter to me, asking me to explain some things. But the current president held unto the letter; he didn’t give it to me until the EFCC came to arrest me. I can account for all the money spent.”