Extortions in Tamale
2007-09-25 23:02:26This article has been read 886 times.Latest information reaching The Chronicle's Tamale regional office indicates that the three NPP constituency chairmen in the Tamale Metropolis who reportedly took various sums of money from about 3000 people under the pretext of helping them to access loans from the Micro-Finance and Small Loans Scheme (MASLOC) have turned the heat on the Director of the scheme, Yakubu Tanko.
A few weeks ago the Northern Regional Bureau of The Chronicle raised the alarm that the three chairmen of the ruling NPP in the Tamale North, South and Central Constituencies were extorting money from some unsuspecting party supporters with the promise of helping them access huge loans under the Micro- Finance and Small Loans Scheme (MASLOC). The three chairmen, Mr Abraham Nunoo, Alhaji Abukari Abdulai and Alhaji Mohammed Tanko took Gh¢150 (1.5 million cedis) from each of the over 90 groups they had formed each consisting of twenty-five (25) members. Every single person paid Gh¢6 (¢60,000) towards the preparation of a business plan. The plan was to be prepared by the MCE's NGO, Northlink.
However, after three months of not receiving the loans promised them, some of them became suspicious and decided to go public with the news. A follow-up investigation by this reporter into the extortion scandal revealed that the three NPP Constituency chairmen, after failing to honour their promise to the thousands of applicants, vented their anger on the Director of the loan scheme, Yakubu Tanko, accusing him of being an NDC mole. They are now putting severe pressure on him to release the money to the victims.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Yakubu Tanko, in a telephone interview with The Chronicle confirmed some of the reports but was reluctant to go public with the way he was being harassed by the NPP chairmen.
He indicated that MASLOC was for all the 18 districts in the North and not only the three Tamale constituencies. According to him he was concentrating on creating awareness across the region. Mr Tanko, who did not specify the actual date the fund would be disbursed, said the secretariat was likely to start disbursement from any of the 18 districts.
Though it is alleged that a sizeable number of the people grouped by the three NPP chairmen were not into any business ventures, the loan facility according to Mr Tanko is not open to all but only the productive poor (those who are already in business). The paper unearthed from a reliable source close the party that the Tamale North Chairman, Mr Abraham Nunoo, the leader of the three chairmen, was working seriously to get the MASLOC Regional Director out of office for alleged incompetence.
The Tamale North and South Chairmen, Mr Abraham Nunoo and Alhaji Abukari Abdulai respectively, in an interview with The Chronicle admitted the serious pressure they had piled on the MASLOC regional boss.
According to them, indications had pointed to the fact that Mr Yakubu Tanko was highly incompetent, arrogant, unapproachable and had poor communication skills, a character which made him unfit to handle such a sensitive position.
The Chairmen attributed the furore of certain members of the 90 groups over the collection of the Gh¢6 each to the ineffectiveness of the MASLOC director to release the funds. "He now has serious problems with the Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mohammed Adam Amin who has tried to put him right on several occasions," they asserted.
Our sources within the NPP disclosed that the three executives were keen on making the MASLOC facility accessible to most NPP members before any other group could access it. But Mr Tanko, according to our sources kicked against that attempt contending that it would defeat the purpose for which the loan was established.
On the other hand, responses received during our investigations indicated that The Chronicle's publication on the MASLOC is making a serious impact in the region as it has alerted majority of the inhabitants who were totally unaware of the MASLOC loan facility. Several people sampled by this paper in Tamale said they were unaware of the loan facility.
The Northern Regional Deputy Secretary of the NDC, Alhaji Alhassan Yussif Imoro when interviewed by the paper said he was unaware of the MASLOC and did not even understand its meaning. According to him, he had only seen one of their vehicles moving around town but thought it was one of the NGOs operating in the region.
Alhaji Imoro, however, commended The Chronicle for bringing such vital information to the notice of the NDC secretariat.
A leading member of the Convention People's Party (CPP) Mr Alhassan Basharu Daballi who is also the President of the Concerned Citizens Association of Tamale (CCAT) also said that he was not aware of the facility until he saw The Chronicle's publication.
He thanked the paper for its good work, and promised to visit the MASLOC secretariat for detailed information.
A top NPP executive in the Tamale Metropolis (name withheld) expressed dissatisfaction at the behaviour of the three party chairmen.
He said the extortion was affecting the integrity of the NPP up north.
According to them, the party hierarchy was yet to take serious action against the three and their accomplices who were also members of the party.