The Elites Network For Sustainable Development (ENetSuD) has written a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) demanding a probe of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) over the N34million entrepreneurship and skill acquisition training organised for 255 participants in Kwara State.
ENetSud, in the petition, disclosed that it tracked the skill acquisition training by SMEDAN and discovered that the agency did not organise the training and alleged that the money was diverted.
The organisation also said it wrote SMEDAN, demanding how the money was spent and names of beneficiaries.
The petition read: “We wrote a Freedom of Information (FOI) request ENetSuD/FOI/ZIP/01/11 dated 1st August, 2018 to Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to request for the execution details of the 2017 Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIPs) it executed in Kwara State, and SMEDAN received the letter on 7th August 2018. After failing to respond in accordance with FOI Act 2011, we wrote a reminder ENetSuD/FOI/ZIP/01/17 dated 29th August, 2018, which was received by SMEDAN on 4th September, 2018.
“The SMEDAN eventually replied us via a letter SMEDAN/DG/A/835/SUB I/21 dated 10th September 2018 and provided details. We further requested for names and contacts of the beneficiaries of these projects via a letter ENetSuD/FOI/ZIP/01/26 which SMEDAN received on 13th November, 2018.
“After SMEDAN's failure to respond in accordance with FOI Act 2011, we delivered a 30-day pre-action notice ENetSuD/FOI/ZIP/01/30 on 18th December, 2018 to inform SMEDAN of our intention to take legal action in compliance with her establishment Act. SMEDAN finally replied us via a letter SMEDAN/DG/A/835/SUB I/22 dated 17th January, 2019, which we received on 22nd January, 2019.”
ENetSuD added that SMEDAN claimed to have trained 255 people, but found out that the claim was false.
“After extensive investigations on the beneficiaries provided to us by SMEDAN, we found that the attendance lists of all the 120 participants of entrepreneurship development training were fraudulently written and signed by a single individual, as the handwriting is the same. Some of the beneficiaries that we called denied outright any participation in such training.
“Also on the skill acquisition training, all the beneficiaries (that answered our calls) denied any previous participation in such training; 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.
“Finally, on enterprise training we found that the phone numbers were owned by the beneficiaries as 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.”
ENetSuD, however, derived that the beneficiaries list is fake while asking EFCC and the Police to take necessary action in line with the provisions of the law.
“Having established forgery, impersonation and falsehood in the official response to our FOI request by SMEDAN, you are kindly requested to take further necessary actions as prescribed by relevant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria within your constitutional powers.”