By JAMES EZEMA
President World Craft Council, Africa region, and Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe has advised industry players and institutional investors in culture and tourism economy to beware of scammers and fraudsters masquerading as government licensed consultants and financial consurtuim with powers to provide post covid palliatives and sundry investment titles for a fee.
He stated that their modus operandi are to present well articulated and faultless proposals, parade fictious and forged references, backed by mouth watering financial intervention, all packaged to suck up the unassuming and simplistic individual and state governments.
“We have been receiving calls from stakeholders around the country, calling my attention to these individuals and their activities which if left unchecked, may ruin our efforts to build trust and confidence between registered operators and financial institutions on one hand and between federal government and state governments on the other hand”, he explained, adding that the ploy to use government initiatives on palliatives and sundry commitments as an instrument to defraud operators will be robustly resisted.
“As chairman, implementation Committee on COVID-19 palliatives and President world Craft Council Africa region, I will put up measures with security agencies to expose these individuals and in weeks coming, will interface with both private sector players, financial institutions and state governments on what is going on in the system.
“We are aware that certain gaps are being exploited by these smart guys who are not working alone, infact have insider contacts, all primed to deceive and cheat people of their legitimate resources in the name helping them to access funds and credit waivers”, Runsewe explained further.
He enjoined all Practitioners and state governments to carry out necessary due diligence by reaching out to the federal government implementation Committee on Creative industry and relevant security agencies before taking steps on prospects for Cultural tourism financial aids or waivers.
“This is a red flag call and let no one blame us for not saying it loud and clear. I must warn the banks and insurance companies to beware, particularly in the choice of corporate and individuals trading or representing their interest with the public. Nothing should be done under the table so that innocent stakeholders are not taken advantage of by well polished scammers”, NCAC boss added.
Runsewe disclosed that though the industry was badly hit, and operators looking for quick fix solutions which was why the minister of Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed inaugurated the post COVID-19 intervention Committee to help find immediate and future remedies to the huge impact on the industry.
“We expect all of us to be patient as strategic plans to arrest the trend has been activated and stakeholders involved and driving the interventions, so those who allowed themselves to scammed should not blame the federal government and the for states desirous of opening their Cultural tourism economies, the central Bank, and the Bankers Committee are part of the financial institutions partnership in the creative industry palliatives mandate.”