The Kano Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) has arraigned some executives of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) over alleged fraud involving a N10 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The anti-graft commission said the loan issued in 2018 is under the apex bank’s Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) lending to the state rice farmers association. PCACC Chairman, Muhuyi Magaji Rimigado, made the disclosure on Thursday.
Kano State Chairman of RIFAN, Alhaji Abubakar Haruna Aliyu, and his Deputy Secretary, Ado Hassan Yakasai, among others, are those arrested. Rimigado explained that the arrest followed the commission’s investigations into complaints about difficulty in recovering the loan.
The anti-graft boss noted that their findings show that most of the beneficiaries selected by RIFAN were fictitious – hence the difficulty in loan repayment.
He added that only less than 5% of the entire loan, which was given to the farmers in kind and not cash, has been recovered. The commission listed agricultural inputs such as fertiliser, seeds, chemicals and water pumps as part of items given to beneficiary farmers.
Rigimado explained, “Preliminary investigations on the loan recovery have indicated that most of the beneficiaries in the record of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria are fictitious names, addresses and the phone numbers.
“Across the 44 local government councils in the state, there are various clusters of rice farmers and it was through the cluster leaders that they carried out the fraud.”
He pointed out repayment of the loan was not supposed to be in cash but in the form of agricultural produce such as paddy rice. This loan was packaged by CBN to reduce the cost of agricultural produce including rice in the country, he also noted.
He said, “The alleged fraud was in collaboration with some of the contractors supplying the agriculture inputs. PCACC also said it has started investigating another intervention loan of N1 billion issued through the Bank of Agriculture, and for which the state government stood as guarantor in 2016.