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Rising Bank Fraud: Sad Tales From GTB, Ecobank, Polaris, Fidelity, Others



Cashless Nigeria
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By NGIJ team of Oluwasegun Abifarin, Olawale Abideen and Adeyemi Obadimu

To further promote a cash-less economy and enhance the collection of applicable government revenues, the Central Bank of Nigeria last Tuesday, announced a review of the process for merchant settlement.

With effect from September 17, 2019, the CBN approved for banks to unbundle merchant settlement amounts and charge applicable taxes and duties on individual transactions as stipulated by regulations.

The CBN, in a circular to all deposit money bank also announced the commencement of charges on deposits in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.

According to the circular, the charges, which took effect from September 18, 2019, will attract 3 per cent processing fees for withdrawals and 2 per cent processing fees for lodgements of amounts above N500, 000 for individual accounts.

Similarly, corporate accounts will attract 5 per cent processing fees for withdrawals and 3 per cent processing fee for lodgements of amounts above N3 million.

The statement, however, disclosed that the charge on deposits shall apply in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, while the implementation of the cash-less policy would take effect from March 31, 2020 nationwide.

The Dilemma

To Olusegun Aremu, father of Miss Mary Taiwo, this directive by the CBN is akin to a double jeopardy of rubbing salt to a fresh wound. Their recent experience with internet transaction with Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB is still haunting the memory of both father and daughter.

While Taiwo was looking forward to her admission at a Federal University in one the states in the South West, her father, had deposited N250, 000 in her savings account with GTB domiciled at Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos State, to take care of necessary admission/resumption formalities.

Sorrow and Tears

While Taiwo was waiting for her admission letter, she did not anticipate that tragedy was also lurking in the corner. Precisely on Saturday, 20th of July, 2019, she received a text message supposedly from the bank on her phone to “upgrade some information on her account.” She innocently obliged and that was the genesis of nightmare for the family. Within 18 hours, the entire N250, 000 in the account was transferred to various accounts.

A statement of account she obtained from the bank showed that on 20th July, the sum of N80, 000 was yanked off the account via POS/WEB Purchase Transaction 766634-134659-CASABELLA INTERNATIONAL. The next day, 21st July, there was an NIBSS Instant Payment of N5, 000 Outward to a First Bank of Nigeria, FBN Leramo AKinwumi Olamide. This was followed immediately of another N5, 000 to the same account.

The third transaction of the day was a double transfer of N50, 000 each NIBSS Instant Payment Outward to UBA/ Agbokun Ayoka. This was followed by another transfer of N20, 000; and N10, 000 respectively to the same UBA account of Agbokun Ayoka.

The last tranche of the fraud was a USSD transfer of N20, 000 to Amuokuyo Success Imengowen, leaving a paltry N2, 500 in the account before the girl actually realized what had hit her.

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The girl and the family are yet to get over the trauma as the resumption time at the school draws closer. Her complaint at the bank merely received an email sympathizing with her and claiming the account will from now be put on extra security.

“You can see that the announcement by the CBN last Tuesday is just nothing but a sham. How can you say you are encouraging cashless banking when the process is riddled with fraud and scams?” Taiwo’s father told our correspondent last week.

Taiwo’s case is similar to the case of a Pastor in Sango-Ota, Ogun State, who lost about N180, 000 in his account with Polaris Bank in the same manner as Taiwo’s. The case of a young man whose $5,000 was sniffed in his account with a first generation bank in Ikorodu, Lagos State was not less dramatic.

It actually took an invasion of the bank by hired thugs from the young man, which disrupted the operations in the bank before the scam was reversed.

Early this year, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan Zonal Office, has arrested one Kehinde Agbabiaka, a sales agent with Fidelity Bank Plc, for allegedly diverting N137m belonging to a customer to personal use.

Agbabiaka was supported in the fraudulent act by his bank’s Regional Security Officer and Cluster Control and Compliance Manager.

According to a petition filed against him on August 20, 2019 by the client, Agbabiaka committed the offence between January 2017 and July 2019 when he was the account officer of the victim.

Trouble, however, started when the customer reviewed his statement of account and discovered some discrepancies.

When EFCC investigators stepped into the case after the agency was petitioned, it was revealed that Agbabiaka had used the diverted sum to build houses, purchase cars, invest in fixed deposits and insurance policies.

In the case of Ademola Taiwo, a Police officer, thirty three thousand naira got missing from her Eco Bank account between the 2nd and 16th September, 2019.

According to Ademola’s statement of account obtained from the bank, a particular MTN mobile phone number (08032942510) was used to siphon the money. Ademola explained that she has been using the account for the past 10 years and has been receiving transaction alerts through her mobile phone line.

She added that few weeks ago, the bank stopped sending her alerts and within two weeks that she could not access her account through her mobile phone, N33, 000 was yanked off her account. On approaching the bank, Ademola could not believe what she heard as the Eco bank officials could not explain why she has to lose such amount of money from her bank account.

Banking on Fraud

According to the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, the insurer of all Deposit Money Banks in the country, a total of 37,817 fraud cases were reported in 2018 against 26,182 in 2017. The amount involved stood at ₦38.93 billion in 2018 compared to ₦12.01 billion in 2017.

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The actual amount lost to fraud incidences in 2018, according to the NDIC stood at ₦15.15 billion as against ₦2.37 billion and ₦2.40 billion in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

The rising fraud incidences, investigation revealed, could be attributed to the increase in the sophistication of fraud related techniques such as hacking, cybercrime as well as increase in I.T related products and usage, fraudulent withdrawals and unauthorised credit.

The channels and instruments through which the reported frauds and forgeries were perpetrated indicated that Internet and technology-based sources of fraud had the highest frequency, accounting for 59.2% of fraud cases and 42.83% of the actual total loss suffered.

Meanwhile, the number of ATM/Card-related fraud cases declined from 16,397 in 2017 to 10,063 in 2018. That may be attributed to improved security features of the card as well as security awareness on the part of users. Web-based fraud cases, however, increased from 7,869 in 2017 to 12,343 in 2018.

Enemy Within

Investigation also revealed that a total of 899 staff were involved in frauds and forgery cases in 2018 compared with 320 in 2017. The number of temporary staff involved in fraud was 394, accounting for 43.83% of the total number of staff involved in frauds.

This was followed by Officers and Executive Assistants’ cadre with 206 or 22.91%. Supervisors and Managers accounted for 119 or 13.24% of the total fraud cases.

Other Legs of Fraud

Not a few Nigerians also believe that the Card Maintenance Fee charged by banks is fraud in another name. In the first six months of this year alone, 13 banks raked in 39.5 billion naira from the exercise.

There are currently 27 banks in Nigeria with government licenses, harbouring 112,005,516 accounts as at 31st December, 2018 through recent drive to enhance financial inclusion as well as other social welfare schemes.

As at December 2018, Nigeria’s Total Deposits was reported at 28.7 trillion naira out of which FUGAZ (which is an acronym for FBNH, UBA, GT Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank) now have a cumulative total customer deposit of N14.1 trillion.


The number of temporary staff involved in fraud and forgery cases had consistently been on the increase. Forensic and security experts agree that the banks and regulators need to address the problem of contract/temporary staff in terms of welfare and permanent employment in view of the risk their current status poses to banks operations.

Furthermore, they advise that banks should strengthen their internal controls and validate their recruitment process.

Long Arm of the Law

The Act establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC mandates it to combat financial and economic crimes. The Commission is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes including:
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment act (2004); The Money Laundering Act 1995;The Money Laundering (Prohibition) act 2004; The Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 1995;
The Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act1994;The Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 1991; and
Miscellaneous Offences Act.

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In 2016 alone, the EFCC secured the convictions of 182 fraudsters as follows: Abuja, 38; Lagos, 62; Kano, 34; Enugu, 15; and Port Harcourt, 33

Defending the Rot

Despite Nigerian banks’ huge investment on technology, it is alarming that most banks are still very vulnerable to attacks and financial frauds. None of the banks is ready to admit that customers’ money in their custody is not safe. When confronted by our team on what their banks are doing to secure their customers savings, they tried to dodge the question either by out rightly failed to pick calls or respond to messages sent to their phones.

Some of them also do not want to be quoted claiming that there are “fraudsters everywhere and no matter how hard bankers tried, criminals will always find a way to perpetuate financial crimes”.

For instance, Idoko Negedu who is said to be the Head of Media in Guaranty Trust, after series of failed attempts to seek his views finally agreed to meet NGIJ team last Friday.

However, when the team got to his Lagos Island office, he claimed he is not willing to meet more than one person who had earlier called to schedule the appointment with him. All efforts to convince him that two others are members of the team on the assignment, proved abortive as he maintained that he was not willing to grant media interviews, claiming he is not the spokesman of the bank.

Idoko who wears an apparently arrogant look, frowned at some of the questions posed to him, claiming that the journalists “seem to be interesting in publishing the report rather than cooperating with the bank.”

However, a top official of Ecobank who would not like his name to be mentioned stated that “technology is evolving and as the banks device new technology so as the criminals create new ways to beat it”. The Ecobank official told NGIJ team that “I’m surprise hearing two people can be receiving alerts from a single account.”

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

Business and Economy

FAAC Shares N680.783 Billion May 2022 Revenue To FG, States And LGCs



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The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N680.783 Billion May 2022 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.   

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for June 2022, held in Abuja.  

The N680.783 billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N385.004 billion,  distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N198.512 billion and Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N97.267 billion. 

In May 2022, the total deductions for cost of collection was N36. 996 billion and total deductions for transfers and refunds was N186.672 billion.  

The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $35.377 million.  

The communiqué confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N680.783 billion; the Federal Government received N229.563 billion, the State Governments received N241.824 billion and the Local Government Councils received N175.942 billion. The sum of N33.454 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue. 

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A gross statutory revenue of N589.952 billion was received for the month of May 2022. This was lower than the N635.037 billion received in the previous month by N45.085 billion.  

From the  N385.004 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N185.197 billion, the State Governments received N93.934 billion and the Local Government Councils received N72.419 billion. The sum of N33.454 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue.   

In the month of May 2022, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N213.179 billion.  This was higher than the N178.825 billion available in the month of April 2022 by N34.354 billion.  

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From the N198.512 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, the Federal Government received N29.777 billion, the State Governments received N99.256 billion and the Local Government Councils received N69.479 billion. 

The Federal Government received N14.590 billion; the State Governments received N48.634 billion and the Local Government Councils received N34.043 billion from the N97.267 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL). 

According to the Communiqué, in the month of May 2022,  Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) recorded considerable increases, Import Duty increased marginally while Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Excise Duties decreased marginally. Oil and Gas Royalties decreased significantly.    

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Business and Economy

Non-interest TAJBank Reports 433% PBT in 2021 Financial Year



Vibrant Board is Key to Local Capacity Building – Lee Maeba
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…as balance sheet grows to N110bn

The second non-interest Bank, TAJBank Limited, has recorded more milestones in its second year of operations with its profit before tax (PBT) surging to N1.6 billion in FY2021, representing 433% improvement over the preceding year’s profit.  

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This is even as the multiple award-winning lenders, which recently received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification in recognition of its globally recognized information security standards in all areas of its operations, also recorded 117% growth in gross revenue from N3.3 billion in FY2020 to N7.2 billion in FY2021.

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In the period under review, the bank recorded positive indicators which showed the remarkable growth that the nascent bank continues to achieve. push({}); The bank’s financial results showed a rise in its balance sheet figure from N50 billion in FY2020 to N110 billion in the FY2021 recording a 122% growth.

The bank also achieved a leap in shareholders’ funds during the year which also marked some great improvements in the Bank’s financial results coming from the previous year.

The non-interest bank’s audited financial statements also reflected outstanding positive indices which demonstrated its management’s professionalism in handling investors’ funds despite serious economic headwinds.

TAJBank’s drive for deposit base growth showed in the financial results as customer deposits also remarkably grew in the year under review, increasing by 99% over the previous year’s value and representing the highest in the industry.

Also, the bank also rapidly expanded its branch network by 22 new branches and business offices within the period under review.

Speaking on the financial results, the Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Hamid Joda, noted that “since commencing operations two years ago, TAJBank has continued to record giant strides in the financial services industry.

“It is on record that we achieved break-even in our 8th month of business, recorded profit in our first year of operations while also wiping-off preoperational expenses in the first year of operation. Generally, the bank has continued to record excellent financial performance within the short period of its existence”, he added.

The Executive Director, Mr. Sherif Idi, while reacting to the results said: “TAJBank has a healthy appetite for growth and for excellence and these results are a testament to what we portray and what we are about.”

He also stressed that the bank “is not looking at slowing down in its sustained commitment to continue to add value to our shareholders, surpassing our customers’ expectations in innovative products and services delivery and in ensuring that we continue to break frontiers in the Nigerian financial system.”

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Business and Economy

Reps Passes 2022 Budget of N17.1 Trillion



Femi Gbajabiamila
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Ogechi Okorie

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed N17,126,873,917,692 as 2022 budget.

The budget was passed by the Green Chamber following the presentation of report by the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Muktar Betara.

The report was considered at the Committee of Supply presided over by the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and his deputy, Hon. Idris Wase.

According to the Bill passed by the lawmakers authorises the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the total sum of N17,126,873,917,692 (Seventeen Trillion, One Hundred and Twenty-Six Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Three Million, Nine Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety-Two Naira) only.

N869,667,187,542 (Eight Hundred and Sixty-Nine Billion, Six Hundred and Sixty-Seven Million, One Hundred and Eighty-Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty-Two Naira) only is for Statutory Transfers while N3,879,952,981,550 (Three Trillion, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Nine Billion, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Two Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Naira) only is for Debt Service.

N6,909,849,788,737 (Six Trillion, Nine Hundred and Nine Billion, Eight Hundred and Forty-Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty-Eight Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Seven Naira) only is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure while the sum of N5,467,403,959,863 (Five Trillion, Four Hundred and Sixty-Seven Billion, Four Hundred and Three Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Three Naira) only is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2022.

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According to Chairman committee on Appropriation Hon. Muktar Betara, the report was a result of work done on the submission of estimates by the president.

He observed that the 2022 budget would be the last to be fully implemented by the current administration.

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According to him, the report took cognizance of the benchmark estimates and the financial/economic realities of current times.

He earlier urged members to support and approve the recommendations in the spirit of the harmonious execution of projects for the good of Nigeria.

The report was considered clause by clause and passed.

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The Green Chamber adjourned plenary till Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 following a motion for adjournment moved by the Leader of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa

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