Wema Bank Managing Director, Moruf Oseni and other top executives of the bank are under intense panic not to deliver the bank primary assignments but to safe themselves from the axe of Nigeria apex bank, Central Bank.
The panic was said to have been caused by Jim Obazee, a special investigator appointed by President Tinubu to probe the activities of the apex bank who has turned its binoculars towards the suspected fraud in the apex bank’s special intervention funds released to the lenders like Wema bank.
Reports has it that Jim Obazee who was commissioned by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to commence investigation into activities of the CBN and other Government Related Businesses (GRB) had since poked the hornet’s net, with many bank Chiefs already running from pillar to post in a frantic bid to cover their nefarious activities especially as it concerns misappropriation of funds for special intervention initiatives of the apex bank.
This newspaper understands that Jim Obazee who has reportedly submitted a preliminary report of his investigation to President Tinubu may be inviting CEOs of banks suspected to be involved in the multi-billion-naira misappropriation of various intervention funds initiative of the CBN under its suspended governor, Godwin Emefiele.
ENigeria Newspaper understands that the development has since caused panic in Wema Bank as its new Managing Director, Moruf Oseni and others at the top echelon of the financial institution are penned down to be investigated.
A report published by Punch Newspaper revealed that the bank’s executives will be invited for questioning as investigations proceed into the N1.27 trillion un-disbursed intervention funds in some commercial banks in Nigeria, in which Wema Bank was mentioned prominently. It was learnt that the move is to ascertain any discrepancies around the management of intervention funds by the lender. This came after a team investigating the apex bank discovered discrepancies and irregularities in the financial accounts.
In August, the CBN released its financial accounts for the years 2016 to 2022 amid an ongoing probe of the financial services sector regulator by a special investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu. The President had on July 28 appointed a former chief executive officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, as a special investigator to probe the activities of the apex bank under its suspended governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, recently said the Federal Government would soon unveil the audit report of the probe of the CBN. The SGF said that the probe report of the CBN when made public, would reveal how poor governance brought the country to the present predicament. According to him, the report will enable Nigerians to know what really went wrong and how the country got to its present situation. This newspaper learnt that the bank and its officials will be made to face the wrath of the law if found culpable.
According to the report, the agricultural sector has been the major beneficiary of the intervention funds, especially through the Anchor Borrower Fund and the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme. About nine banks have at least N208.33bn undisbursed funds from the CBN for the Anchor Borrower Fund and the Commercial Agriculture Credit, CAC Scheme at little interest rates. According to the first half financial statements released to the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Wema Bank Plc claimed that it had N848.23m of the AB Fund in its coffers from N1.96bn signifying that it had disbursed N846.26bn between January and June 2023.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was established by the CBN in line with its developmental function. It was launched by former president Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, to create a link between anchor companies involved in the processing and smallholder farmers of key agricultural commodities. The CACS is a scheme powered by the CBN in collaboration with the Federal Government represented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with the aim of providing concessionary funding for agriculture so as to promote commercial agricultural enterprises in Nigeria.
So far, there have been controversies over the beneficiaries and repayments of the ABP fund.
Mabel Adeteye, head of Brand & Marketing Communications, at Wema Bank Plc, was not available when we contacted her for the bank’s response.