By Mike Adeyemi
Executives of the Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin staff Co-operative Thrift and Credit Society are enmeshed in allegation of fraud, National Pilot reports.
Among the allegations levelled on the executives is issuance of dud cheques to members, which were returned at the point of collection creating emotional trauma for beneficiaries. The exco was also accused of conniving with some officials of the Kwara State Ministry of Commerce and Co-operative to siphon the contributed fund in addition to remaining in office beyond the stipulated tenure. They were also said to have boycotted all arrangement to ensure transition and smooth handing over with no plan to hold Annual General Meeting (AGM), for the past three years.
They also accused the audit staff of the Kwara State ministry of Commerce of constantly receiving financial inducement from the Chairman of the society, Alhaji Ahmed Jimoh Ayinla to influence decisions in his favour.
They further alleged that the executives renovated an existing building without the knowledge of members at an inflated cost of N6.5 million in addition to other allegations.
Speaking with our reporter in his office last week, Salako Adebowale of the Bursary Department of the college said, several letters written to the office of the Commissioner for Commerce to express their grievances have yet to yield any result.
“For almost two years now, we have been calling on the Kwara State Ministry of Commerce, whose core mandate is to unravel any illegality going on in the co-operative. Sadly, we later discovered that it is the ministry that is perpetrating the illegalities”, he noted.
Speaking further on the issue, Salako said, for the past three years, the ministry of commerce and co-operative has been coming to audit the account of the cooperatives, but till now, they are yet to pass any audit reports to show their displeasure on the abnormality in the percentage of loan given to members at 3.00 per cent against the 2.55 per cent slated by the bye-law of the thrift society.
“The Chairman of the co-operative society of the college, Alhaji Ayinla was overheard boasting that he has the Ministry of Commerce in his pocket,” Salako said.
He however said efforts have been made by members of the society to report the gross misappropriation of fund to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Reacting, Abdulrahman Abdulfatai of Registry Department said, on September 4, 2018, that a section of aggrieved members of the cooperative society met and came up with a resolution copied the college Provost, the Registrar, the Bursar, the Electoral Committee Chairman and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
“We agreed that the co-operative account of the college should be frozen until further notice; that the Provost should temporarily take over the affairs of the society until elections are concluded and to stop all undue unprofessional interference by the staff of Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Also speaking with our reporter, a close associate of a member of the electoral committee urged all parties to ensure peace reign in the thrift society by conducting an election.
“Let me be candid with you, there are lots of gamble the co-operative executives have taken that is legally outside their purview. The co-operative was registered as thrift and not a multipurpose venture.
“To gamble into buying of landed property is wrong. How many people will 56 plots of land be allocated to out of 600 members. Also, the account report put forward by the executives is quite incriminating.
“Imagine the executives renovating a building that once housed the generating set for N6.5 million,” he queried.
However, when contacted, Chairman of the co-operative society, Alhaji Ayinla described the allegations as baseless and unfounded.
According to him, “there have been some issues, actually, but you know this our society at micro level, we have some of our members who are greedy; demanding for money and electronic gadgets a demand which we could not meet.
“We have a MoU with Scrawny Electronics and Obitek and we asked our members to go there and take one gadget. A particular member went there and pointed at three items which he was refused. Based on this, he decided to join others in writing series of petition to the Ministry of Commerce and Human Rights Commission,” he stated.
On the allegation of procuring landed property without the knowledge of members, Ayinla said, “We issued a circular, pasted it on the notice board for those who have interest. The land could not go round so we allocated it through each department.
“We bought 65 plots, but after the planning, it was reduced to 56 plots. So, we followed due process in the buying and allocation of the land.”
Efforts to contact the Kwara State Commissioner for Commerce and Co-operative, Hon Tunde Agboola proved abortive as calls and text messages sent to his mobile phone were not responded to as at the time of filing this report.