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Fidelity Bank, GT & 2 Others Sack 110 Top Executives, Over ₦82 Billion Fraud



Nigerian banking hall

According to Primetimes Nigeria , at least 110 top bank officials and subordinate staff workers have been fired for fraud-related crimes in the last two years.

These were contained in the Financial Institutions Training Centre’s ‘Reports on Fraud and Forgeries in Nigerian Banks” released between the second quarters of 2021 and Q2 2023.

The Nigerian Banker’s Committee, which includes the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, and all regulated banks in Nigeria, is comprised of FITC’s institutional members.

According to a breakdown, although just four bank executives were fired in Q2 2021, the figure increased by 175% to 11 in Q2 2023.

In Q3 2022, the largest number of dismissed top bank executives and junior staff workers was reported. Twenty officials were let go.

The Primetimes Nigeria discovered that 52 bank employees were fired for fraud-related reasons between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022.

However, 58 bank employees were fired for the same reason between Q3 2022 and Q2 2023.

Furthermore, during the time period under consideration, the terminated employees were involved in a total of 967 fraud incidents.

The biggest number of incidents involving bank employees was reported in Q4 2021, with 410 cases, while the lowest number was recorded in Q3 2021, with 32 cases.

Primetimes Nigeria also discovered that bank employees were engaged in 657 incidents between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022, and 310 cases between Q3 2022 and Q2 2023.

In addition, approximately N18.01 billion was lost owing to fraud committed by bank employees and outsiders during the analyzed period, out of a total of N81.69 billion implicated in fraud cases.According to the Primetimes Nigeria, the greatest sum lost was N5.79 billion in Q2 2023, while the lowest amount lost was N472.28 million in Q1 2023.

The total amount involved was N34.78bn in Q3 2021, with the lowest amount being N1.18bn in Q2 2022.

According to the Primetimes Nigeria, the most common types of fraud were mobile fraud, computer/web fraud, and P0S-related fraud, and this trend continued in Q2 2023.

The Primetimes Nigeria reported in June 2022 on the prolonged trial of three former First Bank of Nigeria employees facing attempted fraud charges before a Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja.

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission charged the defendants, Ozioma Ugorji, 35, Ugwu Emeka, 32, and Obike Chukwuka, 38, with attempting to steal N20 billion from the bank.

The Primetimes Nigeria has learned that the accused planned to hack into the bank’s server in order to offer access to a syndicate.

They were seized by the EFCC on March 6, 2021, as a result of an intelligence tip.

In June of this year, four individuals were charged at the Yaba Magistrates’ Court with defrauding their company, Think Finance Microfinance Bank, of N150m in the Lagos State neighborhood of FESTAC Town.

The defendants include the company’s Head of Risk Management, Ojimi Ayodeji, the Loan Officer, Isaac Eddy, Joseph Setonji, and Juwon Irinyemi, and were charged with three counts of theft before Magistrate Patrick Nwaka.

According to the Primetimes Nigeria, four Nigerian deposit money banks lost a total of N1.77 billion in 2021 due to fraudulent operations involving the banks’ personnel and customers.

This was disclosed in the 2021 financial statements of Access Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, First Monument City Bank, and Wema Bank.

According to analysis of their financial reports for the first half of 2022, Access Bank, GTB, and Fidelity Bank recorded 26,877 fraud instances in the first six months of this year, according to the Primetimes Nigeria.

This was a 56.45% decline from the 61,715 fraud instances reported by banks between June and December 2021.

Dr. Uju Ogunbunka, President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, has asked banks to educate their employees and implement safeguards to avoid fraud.

Olugbenga Odeyemi, Senior Partner of e86 Limited and ICT expert, reportedly stated that several fraud cases required insiders from banks.

“Some of the hacking and fraud cases that we’ve seen happened not because of a lack of security on the banks’ electronic platforms, but because of poverty, greed, and, in some cases, a lack of education on the part of the customers,” he said.

“Aside from requesting that banks invest more in the security of their platforms, it is also critical that banks invest more resources in educating their customers.”

“However, several fraud cases could not have occurred without the assistance of insiders in some of the banks.” I believe Nigerian banks should spend more money on employee welfare while making appropriate improvements to their internal systems, beginning with hiring.”

Dr Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, recently urged the CBN to implement fines and eradicate practices that encourage corruption.

“I think what they can do is activate sanctions on anyone found wanting,” he said. In addition to the tracking, there must be evidence. And once they have evidence, they should go after whomever they discover. The most serious threat to the financial system is cyber fraud.

The FITC recommended that banks tighten their security protocols and implement advanced fraud detection technologies.

“Given the increase in the total amount involved in fraud cases and the amount lost,” it stated, “Nigerian banks should strengthen their security protocols and systems to prevent unauthorised access to customer accounts and sensitive information.” This may entail deploying safeguards such as multi-factor authentication, powerful encryption techniques, and ensuring regular security updates are in place.”