Why CSO Dragged SMEDAN To EFCC And ICPC
As part of our #FollowKwaraMoney activities to monitor how Federal and State Budgets are executed in Kwara State, says it wrote series of Freedom of Information request to Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to give details of how it executed the Skill Acquisition, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Training Constituency Projects facilitated by Hon. Abubakar Amuda-Kannike representing in Ilorin East and South in the National Assembly.
Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENEtSuD) is a Kwara-based Civil Society Organization (CSO) that promotes good governance by participating in policy formation, campaigning against corruption, promoting government’s good policies, advocating for open leadership, protecting citizens’ rights, and evaluating/monitoring the implementation and performance of Kwara-related budgets.
In the SMEDAN’s response to our FOI, it stated that the entrepreneurship development training for one hundred and twenty (120) participants in Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency was contracted to Abilele Industries Limited at the sum of Sixteen Million, Six Hundred and Six Thousand Naira (N16,606,000) and was reported to be 100% completed.
“The skill acquisition training for Forty (40) participants in Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency was contracted to Dile Nigeria Limited at the sum of Seventeen Million, Four Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira (N17,480,000) and was reported to be 100% completed.”
The enterprise support service training for ninety-five (95) participants in Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency was contracted to Alhambra Global Service Limited at the sum of Five Million, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand, Four Hundred Naira only (N5,768,400) and was reported to be 100% executed.
We then carried out our own independent investigation on the beneficiaries lists provided to us by SMEDAN and discovered that:
- The entrepreneurship training attendance lists with 120 participants were fraudulently written and signed by a single individual, as the handwritings are the same; the phone numbers provided were owned by the beneficiaries; and some of the beneficiaries that we called outrightly denied any participation in such training.
- All the beneficiaries of Skill Acquisition training (that answered our calls) denied any previous participation in such training; the phone numbers of all the 40 beneficiaries did not correlate with the records available on Truecaller; most of the beneficiaries’ names appeared to be of Yoruba tribe, but our communication with them through phone calls revealed that most are of Hausa tribe, in addition to the fact that some claimed not to have ever been to Ilorin.
- The phone numbers of the beneficiaries of enterprise training were owned by the beneficiaries; randomly sampled beneficiaries that we called confirmed that they were trained for 2 weeks in Ilorin, and they were as much as the number provided to us by SMEDAN.
For balanced reportage and fair hearing, we contacted Hon. Abubakar Amuda-Kannike to confirm if the list of beneficiaries he presented to SMEDAN and the contractors for trainings were different from what we received from SMEDAN or not, and to know whether the beneficiaries were truly trained or not.
He insisted that the training’s were carried out in Ilorin but did not provide us with any contrary list. He emphasized that SMEDAN (as the project executing Agency) has the singular authority to provide us the beneficiaries details.
Finally, we contacted the contractors to explain the anomaly in the lists. Both Dile Nigeria Limited and Abilele Industries Limited validated the fraudulent lists provided by SMEDAN.
Dile Nigeria Limited provided us with the same list of beneficiaries of Skill Acquisition training as received from SMEDAN, while Abilele Industries Limited told us he has no other attendance list for the Entrepreneurship training different from what we got from SMEDAN.
We did not contact Alhambra Global Services Limited because the beneficiaries of its Enterprise training already confirmed the authenticity of the list given to us by SMEDAN.
In conclusion, based on our independent investigations on these Federal Government-funded Zonal Intervention projects of 2017, we have conclusively found that the beneficiaries list of the Entrepreneurship and Skill Acquisition training projects (that costed thirty-four million naira) provided to us by SMEDAN were FAKE.
This is because the beneficiaries contained in the list of the Entrepreneurship and Skill acquisition trainings denied any participation in such. The names provided as the beneficiaries of the Skill acquisition training did not correspond with the phone numbers.
Moreover, the names, types of training, address, phone numbers, and signature of all the 120 beneficiaries for the Entrepreneurship training were written by a single individual.
It is our hope that our Petitions received by EFCC, ICPC and IG of Police will be treated accordingly.