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Reps Seek Stiffer Punishment for Banks over Illegal Charges

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House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency on Tuesday opted for stiffer penalties of millions of Naira as fine for commercial banks which engage in an illegal deduction of spurious charges on customers’ accounts domiciled in such banks.

 

The Committee took this position a 2-day public hearing it organised at the National Assembly on proposed amendments to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act BOFIA 2017 where the lawmakers and stakeholders in the banking sector brainstormed on the way forward for the sector.

 

Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House, who declared the hearing open noted that bank customers had not stopped complaining of spurious charges on their accounts.

 

Dogara who was represented by Chukwuka Onyema, House Deputy Minority Leader, assured that the 8th Assembly was ready to legislate on the laws that would restore sanity into our banking system in the country

 

Jones Onyereri, chairman of the House Committee, said that increase in penalties to the bank operators would streamline the operations of such banks to conform to international best practices.

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Cooperation  (NDIC) who made representations at the hearing said that the proposed amendments would help to eliminate sharp practices by commercial banks.

 

Mr Johnson Akinmwumi, CBN’s Director of Legal Services, who represented Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, and Benema Taribo, his counterpart in the NDIC, said that the proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act would ensure that bankers adhere to international best practices.

 

Akinwumi particularly lauded the proposed amendments to sections 3,4 and 5 of the BOFIA Act 2017 the best initiatives to reposition the banking sector.

 

Some of the  penalties in the 70 proposed amendments to the BOFIA Act 2017 include:

(a) A fine of N20 million on banks that fail to comply with the conditions of the licence.

(b) A fine of N20 million on any director that fails to declare any property he/she owns that runs contrary to the Act.

(c) A fine of N10 million against a director or manager that fails to keep a book of account.

(d) A fine of N2 million on banks that fail to publish its annual report of its general meeting in two reputable national dailies among others

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E-Financial

Court Jails Union Bank Head of Ops over N450m Fraud

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Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc

Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc in Marina, Lagos, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for his involvement in fraud to the tune of N450 million.

 

Mr Onwughalu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in February 2014 before Justice S.S. Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on a four-count charge bordering on failure to conduct due diligence in financial transactions.

 

Ruling on the matter in March 2018, Justice Ogunsanya found the accused guilty of the offence and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count.

One of the counts read, “That you, Paul Onwughalu, on or about the 9th of January, 2013, at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division, whilst being an employee of Union Bank Plc, failed to exercise due diligence in relation to the conduct of financial transactions with one DanKawu Bureau De Change by confirming and authorizing payment of the sum of N450 million fraudulently transferred by hacking into Union Bank database (flexcube) and transferring the said sum to Union Bank Plc account of one DanKawu Bureau De Change domiciled in Union Bank, Head Office Branch, Marina, Lagos and thereby facilitated the crediting and withdrawal of the said sum by one DanKawu Bureau De Change to various accounts in Ecobank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa and Dankawu Bureau De Change.”

 

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him, thereby setting the stage for his full trial.

 

In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Fadeke Giwa, presented a number of witnesses and tendered various documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

 

However, counsel to the convict, O. Fagbemi, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.

 

 

 

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African Development Bank Delivers Strong Operational Results

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The African Development Bank is delivering on its goals and making good progress towards achieving its development and operational targets according to the 2018 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) (link is external), which was released at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Every year, ADER scrutinizes the Bank’s operational effectiveness and its organizational efficiency, using the Bank’s results measurement framework for 2016-2025. It brings together evidence of strengths and weaknesses to provide management with a clear understanding of what has worked well and what the Bank must do better to achieve its High 5 development goals.

“The report shows that the African Development Bank is delivering on its commitment to help Africa achieve the Bank’s High 5 priorities,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President. “The Bank continues to strengthen its effectiveness as an organization, while scaling up its operations.”

This year’s ADER has a special focus on industrializing Africa. “There are good reasons to be optimistic that industrialization is achievable in the coming years. Africa is open for business, with stable economies and supportive business environments,” said Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina. “It has a young and growing workforce that is increasingly global in outlook. Urbanization and the rise of the African middle class are opening up new consumer markets, which act as a magnet for investors.”

In 2017, companies had improved access to transport, energy, and skills, which expanded their ability to do business across the continent. The Bank contributed to these improvement: it provided 14 million people with access to transport – well above its target – while building or rehabilitating 2,500 km of roads in 2017 and also helped 210,000 small and micro businesses access finance, which benefitted 2.6 million people.

“This level of performance is promising, but we must continue driving operational delivery and impact,” said Simon Mizrahi, Bank Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results.

The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations. This backbone and experience position the Bank well to mobilize more resources from institutional investors around the world for industrial development.

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EMVCo Creates Royalty-free Mark to Promote Use of QR codes

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EMVCo, the global technical body that manages EMV specifications, has introduced a QR payment trademark designed to promote the global interoperability and use of EMV QR code payments.

EMVCo has released reproduction requirements for the mark and a licensing structure that allows any organization that uses an EMV QR code solution to also use the mark at no cost, a press release said.

According to EMVCo, QR codes are increasingly being used to facilitate mobile payments at the point of sale. Last year, the organization published specifications to address two QR code payment use-cases:

–  Consumer-presented — consumers display the QR code on their mobile device and the merchant uses an optical scanner to read the code.

–  Merchant-presented — the merchant displays the QR code and consumers use their mobile device to scan the code.

The QR payment mark can be used to inform consumers that a merchant accepts these types of payment solutions.

The QR payment mark can also be used as an application indicator on a consumer mobile device when initiating a consumer-presented transaction.

A royalty-free trademark license agreement and reproduction requirements are available in EMVCo’s Trademark Centre.

“The development of a uniform, recognizable QR payment mark that can be used on a royalty-free basis is an important step towards providing a universally consistent experience for both merchants and consumers,” EMVCo executive Committee Chair Jack Pan said in the release.

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