A former governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has said the allegation that his administration borrowed N3.5billion agriculture loan in 2019 and did not account for it was aimed at smearing his hard-earned reputation.
The former governor made the assertion in a statement dated October 24, 2021 and endorsed by Uche Onyeaguocha, the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of Imo State.
He said he is aware of the desperate antics of the state government under the leadership of, Senator Hope Uzodimma to divert the attention of the public from the total collapse of governance in the state owing to its ineptitude.
Ihedioha declared that his administration neither took a loan of N3.5billion from Fidelity Bank nor acquired land from communities as claimed by the peddlers of the falsehood.
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He explained that there was a Central Bank of Nigeria Empowerment Schemes known as Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) and the Commercial Agricultural Credit (CAC) Scheme which his administration sought to facilitate for entrepreneurs in the state.
According to him, the schemes involved granting of soft loans to beneficiaries usually for financing agribusiness and micro-enterprises.
He stated that the apex bank implements the schemes through deposit money banks while the role of the state government is only to facilitate and provide the necessary guarantee often by way of Irrevocable Standing Payment Order.
The former governor said as a development-oriented government committed to youth empowerment and job creation, his administration sought to take advantage of these concessional facilities for Imo youths and entrepreneurs.
According to him, in order to make it transparent and accountable, his government set up an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Commissioner for Finance.
He added that the committee selected Fidelity Bank based on its agribusiness promotion track record as the bank to warehouse the funds following eventual disbursement by the CBN.
The bank, he said, would also be involved in credit assessment and monitoring of projects to be financed with the facility from CBN.
Ihedioha disclosed that the Fidelity Bank was at the critical stage of project identification and selection of eligible beneficiaries when the administration was wrongfully terminated.
While saying that the above facts could be confirmed at the Development Finance Department of the CBN, he urged anyone who has evidence to the contrary to make it available to the public.
The former governor said he had taken cursory notice of orchestrated blackmail against him sponsored by Senator Uzodimma but which has flopped woefully.
He stated that Gov. Uzodimma has not made effort to respond with details, to the enquiries of fiscal management nor weighty allegations of corruption levelled against him and his government.