Anchor Borrowers Scheme: Panic grips beneficiaries of CBN’s N1.1 tr loan, as Tinubu’s deadline ends

Reports have indicated that the Jim Obazee-led Special Investigative Panel constituted by President Bola Tinubu in July to probe and reset the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended its dragnet to companies and establishments owned by top shots at the apex bank including its board members.

According to the report, some of the companies were used as conduits for anchor borrowers’ loans and foreign exchange rackets;

Consequently, cronies of CBN top shots are in panic mode as investigators and security operatives pick them up one after the other for questioning.

The presidential deadline for the loan recovery elapses today Monday (September 18) and tension is high as no one knows the next line of action of the presidency.

Some genuine farmers who got a slice of the anchor borrowers’ facility but could not repay listed floods and the shutdowns associated with the Covid-19 pandemic as reasons for defaulting.

This is aside from the allegations of funds’ diversion by officials of CBN and other participating stakeholders who politicised an initiative designed to solve Nigerians’ food insufficiency nightmare.

A source said, “Let us get something clear. This is not a witch-hunt. It’s a call to service to restore the dignity of the apex bank and we are leaving no stones unturned to do a thorough job. There are no sacred cows or sacrificial lambs.

“There are issues around anchor borrowers’ facilities. Billions of naira has been disbursed, but there are no rice paddies to repay. Where did the money go? What happened? There are also issues around foreign exchange round-tripping we are investigating. There is acute dollar scarcity. What really went wrong? Who are those responsible?

“So, as we dig in, if it concerns you, you will be invited. The DSS is also working with the panel. The goal is mutual”, he added.

The anchor borrowers’ loans of over N1.1 trillion were facilitated by the sacked CBN management, however, the investigators believe that little effort was made to recover the loan. Out of the N1.1 trillion disbursed by the CBN to the beneficiaries of the ABP since its inception, only a little above N546 billion was repaid.

The development reportedly irked President Tinubu, who is said to have directed that the outstanding N577 billion be recovered from defaulting farmers and CBN officials and their cronies who allegedly diverted the funds to some other private ventures.

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