I took no part in Kwara agency fraud, says ex- First Lady

Date: 2019-08-14

A former First Lady of Kwara State has denied a media report she took part in the N2bn fraud in the Kwara State Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Directorate (SMED) fund.

The Nation had reported on Tuesday she may be arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for diverting part of the loot to her foundation.

The anti-graft commission also alleged she declined an invitation for investigation over the case, accusing her of feigning an undisclosed illness.

But the former First Lady declared the EFCC's position was an attempt to align her, stating the foundation merely took a loan of N16milllion from SMED for which it has started repayment.

A statement by Executive Director Leah Group, Lanre Bello maintained the innocence of the former First Lady.

The foundation said: "Our attention has been drawn to a publication in The Nation Newspaper of 13th August 2019 in respect of the N2 billion Kwara State Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Directorate (SMED) fund where it was insinuated that our founder received part of the money.

"The insinuation suggested in the write up is absolutely untrue and a brazen attempt to malign our founder.

"While neither our organisation nor our founder was directly mentioned, the publication contained innuendo fully suggesting that our Founder was being targeted as reference was made to our mission statement.

"Our position is that in our quest to continue to serve the good people of Kwara State in pursuit of our mission to provide intervention in the Health sector, particularly the fight against breast and cervical cancers that is daily killing women, we approached the Kwara State SMED for a N16 million loan to develop a medical facility.

"The application was duly processed and approved. So far, the organisation has repaid N3 million and is currently working on paying the balance.

"At no time was any money paid into the accounts of our founder by the SMED neither has she received any cash from the scheme.

"Therefore, the insinuation that our founder has been evading EFCC invitation or is on the run is totally false. No invitation has been extended to her.

"For the records, we state emphatically that the insinuation that our founder directly received the money is not true."

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