Special investigator, Mr. Jim Obazee appointed to probe the activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its related entities, may soon invite the managing director of Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Moruf Oseni and other senior officials of the bank over the management of intervention funds released to the lender by the apex bank.
According to a report by The Punch, the bank’s executives may be invited for questioning as the investigations proceed over N1.27 trillion undisbursed intervention funds in some commercial banks in Nigeria, in which Wema Bank was mentioned.
It was learnt that the move is to ascertain any discrepancies around the management of intervention funds by the lenders.
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.
Tinubu had on July 28 appointed a former chief executive officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, as 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 banks concerned 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 Scheme at little interest rates. The banks include Guaranty Trust Bank, Sterling Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Access Bank Plc, FCMB, United Bank for Africa, Zenith Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc and Wema Bank Plc.
According to the first half financial statements released to the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Wema Bank Plc disclosed 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, Wema Bank Plc, did not respond to THE WITNESS calls for enquiries as at press time.
Credit: The Punch