Edo State Government said it has uncovered 39,000 fake Cooperative Societies that were registered for the purposes of raising funds for dubious reasons.
It said the fake Cooperative societies were uncovered after an audit of registered cooperatives societies were carried out.
State Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Employment and Cooperatives, Barrister Emmanuel Usoh, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen said a little over 1000 Cooperative Societies were found to be functional in the state.
Barr. Usoh said the state government carried audit because it planned to build a strong local economy in various locations where the Cooperative societies are located.
Usoh stated that the discovery made a strict measures to be out in place for any new Cooperative Society to be registered.
He said a committee has been set up to help recover funds from some Cooperative Societies that diverted the funding it got from the state government or financial institutions.
Usoh noted that the data gathered would help the state government develop the Cooperative societies and fund them by building capacities, training and helping them access funds to be able to develop what they are set out to do.
According to him, “We made a huge discovery of the fact that we lacked data to prosecute the intentions of this administration. A lot of Cooperative societies totaling 40,000 were registered with the aim of attracting quick funding that may never be used for the purpose of galvanizing the local economy which cooperative society serve,
“Having done an audit of the Cooperative Society, we found out that only over 1000 were functional which we have compartmentalized into various groups. All these have their different roles they played in the local economy.
“Once you are able to galvanized their intentions, we are good to go to building a very strong local economy in the various locations where the Cooperative societies are located. Their finances will be strong to attract funding or loans to deal with the basic requirement or expectations.
“We have set up a machinery for registration of Cooperative Societies. The process are now strict that if you do not have a purpose as a Cooperative Society, you will not be registered.
“For others who have taken benefit of funding, we have set up audit to investigate and ascertain to what extent of culpability individuals and association have. When we are done, those to be referred to arbitration will be refer. We have set up committees to recover such funds from association or individuals. When a case of fraud is established, we refer such group to the police for prosecution.”
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