ABEOKUTA – A strong indication has emerged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to quiz no fewer than 120 teachers in Ogun State over an alleged N200million loan scam on Monday (today).
Vanguard gathered that the anti-graft agency had invited the affected teachers through the state Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) and would interrogate them at the commission’s office in Lagos.
The teachers, most of whom are in secondary schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of the state, allegedly obtained loans running into about N200million from First Bank Plc since 2011 and defaulted in repayment.
But the teachers denied ever borrowing any loan from the First Bank, adding thatmajority of them even never had accounts with the bank.
It was gathered that the development has since last week generated controversy between the teachers and TESCOM authorities over whether or not to honour the EFCC invitation.
Sources said the teachers have been grouped into six batches, with the first batch, comprising 20 teachers, billed to appear before the EFCC on Monday (today).
It was learnt that a vehicle has also been arranged to convey the teachers in batches from the State Secretariat, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta to Lagos.
One of the affected teachers, who spoke with our correspondent at the weekend, said the teachers staged a protest to the Head of Service, Mrs. Modupe Adekunle, on Friday following an unsatisfactory meeting with TESCOM officials.
The teacher, who did not want to be named, disclosed that the Head of Service subsequently held a meeting with the teachers’ spokesman,Imam Noah Sodeinde, on the imperative of honouring the EFCC invitation notwithstanding the claims of innocence by all the teachers.
The teacher added: “We suspect that a fraud has been perpetrated somewhere. Many of us don’t have accounts with the bank, yet they said we took loans and failed to repay. How can that be? Some of the affected teachers have retired while others are still in service. EFCC should beam searchlight at the bankers.
“This issue has been on for some time. They (TESCOM) just sent text messages to invite us recently. They called others on phone. They said we are going to EFCC to respond to allegation that we took loans and did not repay. They said they will arrange bus to carry us to EFCC.”
It was learnt that many of the teachers were kicking against honouring the EFCC invitation because of the apprehension that they may be subjected to unwarranted detention over the matter despite their innocence.
Efforts to get the Head of Service and TESCOM Acting Chairman, Otunba Timothy Adebowale, to react to the matter were not successful yesterday.
But a source at TESCOM,hinted our correspondent that there was no cause for alarm by the teachers, adding that the state Ministry of Justice is aware and has made arrangements to provide the teachers with lawyers that would defend their cause.
The source stated that the list of the affected teachers was not generated from TESCOM and that it became imperative for the teachers to honour the EFCC’s invitation to enable them to effectively clear their names