As the Federal Government prepares to make N500bn available for poverty alleviation, Nigerians have been urged not to fall prey to groups which claim to be acting on behalf of the Government only to dupe vulnerable citizens in the process.
The warning came just as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission arrested one Umanah Umanah for allegedly duping several job seekers.
The ICPC said in a statement by the Commissioner, Public Enlightenment, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, that the suspect and members of his syndicate floated a loan scheme tagged, “President Mohammadu Buhari Poverty Alleviation Programme.”
The commission said the fraudulent scheme offered an unspecified number of unemployed Nigerians loans to the tune of N1m on the condition that they pay between N5, 000 and N7, 000 for processing fees and a form.
The statement read in part, “We arrested the ringleader of a fraudulent group that has been swindling unsuspecting Nigerians of their money through a fraudulent loan scheme tagged ‘President Mohammadu Buhari Poverty Alleviation Programme’.
“The scheme under the auspices of Magic Project Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society offered to beneficiaries interest-free and collateral-free loans up to the tune of N1m repayable over a period of 10 years. The beneficiaries had the option of repaying weekly N2, 100 or monthly N8, 400.
“However, to secure this loan, the applicant had to pay for an application form and a processing fee of N7, 000 and N5, 000 respectively.
“Further investigations by ICPC revealed that in spite of the fairly large number of applications over the period of time the group had been operating, not one applicant had received the loan.”
Investigations by the anti-graft agency also indicated that the scheme under the parent name ‘No Burn Global Limited’ was neither registered with any financial institution, the Central Bank of Nigeria nor the Abuja Municipal Area Council and therefore did not have appropriate authorisation to carry out investment or financial services.
“It became obvious that Umanah and his group’s hoodwinking of unsuspecting clients into paying the said sums for the purpose of the supposed loan was the actual target of the whole fraud scheme,” the statement added.
The suspect whose action violates and is punishable under Section 25 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 will be charged to court accordingly.
The ICPC warned members of the public to be wary of dubious individuals and groups.
It urged people to always conduct checks with relevant authorities before committing their resources into business deals that promise fantastic returns.