BENHOUSE BUILDING SOCIETY LIMITED: MORTGAGE BANK OR CONDUIT PIPE?

Posted: April 2, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

All does not seem to be well in the newly established Benue State
Ministry of Urban Development, the Ministry tasked with the duties of
town planning and provision of housing for the state. The ministry
which was created in 2011 out of the former Ministry of Works and
Housing, so as to concentrate on the house needs of the Benue People
is seemingly going underground as parastatals under this Ministry may
after all become a conduit pipe where despite government efforts to
bring housing closer to the people it may have been sinking resources
to no avail.

Research show that the only seemingly functional parastatal under the
Ministry is the State Urban Development Board, tasked with the
cleaning and beauty of the state. The board is visible in that her
personnel are constantly seen clearing refuse in around Makurdi and
her environs.
Just last week the Commissioner of Finance Dr. Omadachi Oklobia,
announced the removal of the Managing Director of the Benue Investment
and Property Company (BIPC), Mr Paul Agu, for reasons yet tobe
disclosed. atiterkula findings however show that the reason for
the removal may not be in anyway far from the general belief of
financial mismanagement and misappropriation.
The removal of Mr. Agu, has however not only aroused curiosity in the
minds of the Benue populace as to the reasons for the removal but also
in the activities of the Ministry in general. The supervising
Commissioner, Hon. Simon Kwaghbula, had in an interaction with
journalist on assumption of office, confirmed this when he noted that
many of the parastatals in the Ministry were unproductive and needed
proper overhaul. He specifically mentioned parastatals like the BIPC,
Benhouse Building Society Limited, where he noted that though the
government had sunk so much but has yields incommensurate to the
investment and thus the reason for the much needed overhaul.
With the removal of Agu feelers are that, the next point of call
should be the , Benhouse Building Society Limited. Ben House is
supposed to be the state government owned Mortgage House, established
to cater for housing and banking services and schemes of the state,
unfortunately, this good initiative has gone aground with investors,
depositors and even government acknowledging “bad debt”.
Benhouse Building Society Limited, established and incorporated
sometime in 1998, with a an initial capital of N 5 Million,
recapitalized to the tune of N20 Million and later out of an order by
the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), again increased to N100 Million in
2001, had an influx of customers and investors with a larger number
being civil servants and pensioners with the view to acquiring housing
loans and homes.
Unfortunately this baby mortgage bank has become a shadow of its
fourteen year old self. Ben House has become a haven for lizards and
cockroaches. atiterkula have unraveled that this unfortunate
situation has been conditioned by the mismanagement and sharp
practices indulged by the management of the funds so dedicated to this
establishment. A visit to the once vibrant financial institution will
find a deserted Ben House without Staff and dilapidated housing
structure.
A staff who spoke on account of anonymity, acknowledged that the bank
staff have decided to adopt a lack luster attitude to their job as
they have in turn not received salary or any stipend whatsoever from
their employer, rather they have their presumed salaries computed and
left as loan on the establishment.
“ …we have not received salary for over two years, when the MD gets
small money from recovery he pays lawyers for court cases. We have
severally advised him on these cases but he has refused to heed our
advise even the legal adviser told him, this is even why the one
seconded to us from the Justice Ministry left.” The staff lamented.
In recent times it has become common sight to find depositors walk
into the bank premise and cart away cars, computers and other bank
property as a result of one court litigation or another. Many
depositors have taken the institution to court in a bid to recover
their deposits, many of such deposits which have formed a basis for
the part of the mismanaged fund.
It has been discovered that part of the problem of the establishment
emanates from the decision of the management to deposit 75% of the
banks initial deposit of N 20 Million into now defunct Savannah Bank
PLC a move which was ill taken by the management for reasons
undisclosed after series of counter advise by management staff and CBN
examiners on primary Mortgage Institution. Unfortunately, on the 15th
of February 2002, Savannah Bank went into liquidation with these
funds.
Also contributory to this predicament is the present management policy
of carrying the burden of court cases and litigations which involves
payment of lawyers owing to the absence of a legal adviser in the
establishment.
This development, findings show that is a development that has taken
prevalence with the appointment of the present acting Managing
Director, Mr. Akor Ikpam, four years ago after been part of the
establishment from its inception. Typical of these cases is the case
instituted by four staff of the institution namely; Messers Samuel
Agba, Clement Andyar, Pratick Kasar and Atagher Terwase, against it in
2010, where the court ruled in favour of the now former staff in the
tune of millions. This happenstance was also in usual manner advised
against by the Legal Adviser and even a police report which acquitted
the said people in the said matter which eventually ended in court.
With the Ministry’s helmsman, Hon. Simon Kwaghbula, resolved to
restructure all establishments under his ministry, though little seems
to be happening, atiterkula findings have shown that with the
recent sack of Mr. Agu intrigues have begun to come into play in these
establishment especially, Ben House Building Society Limited with
staff scheming save – neck measures.

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