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Reps Accuse Banks of Hiding $996m in Secret TSA Accounts

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The House of Representatives this week alleged that the sum of $995.71 million was yet to be remitted to the treasury single account (TSA) by deposit money banks (DMBs) in defiance of the Federal Government’s directive.

 

Adopting report of the Danburam Nuhu Abubakar-led ad hoc committee probing the implementation of the policy, the chamber, presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, said the sum included the principal deposits and their accrued interests.

 

Besides, it claimed that N1.207 billion and € 23,704.01 were still to be credited the TSA by the financial institutions.

 

The lower chamber of the National Assembly also accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of engaging in extra budgetary expenses on the funding of the Brass LNG project to the tune of $331.72 million between 2012 and 2017.

 

The lawmakers bemoaned that whereas the gas project got an appropriation of $511.60 million, $461.54 million was actually released during the period under review.

 

“This shows the NNPC has received funds for above what was appropriated by the National Assembly for the Brass LNG project. This is justified by the fact that the outstanding amount not released ($708.29 million) held in the DMBs in Brass LNG investment account is higher than the total appropriation ($511.60 million) made so far for the Brass LNG project during the year under review,” they noted.

 

The House further indicted the corporation and the Federal Ministry of Environment of “hiding under the cover of presidential waivers to operate illegal accounts comprising joint venture (JV), escrow accounts, securitised and guarantee funds, NNPV operation accounts and NNPC pension funds with DMBs.”

 

The chamber claimed that NNPC’s operations account of $188,900,383.49 were currently domiciled in various banks.

 

It further alleged TSA infractions in three accounts held by the NNPC in a savings and loans firm and a new generation bank, adding that they comprise two accounts called NNPC PFL placement deposit with the third called NNPC pension fund account totalling N1,079,444,746.49.

 

The House also “discovered how the Federal Ministry of Environment, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Programme ((HYPREP) breached the TSA policy by operating an account called FMR HYPREP Account amounting to N1.1 billion and $4.9 million” in another new generation financial institution.

 

It, however, recommended the payment of N10 billion to Systemspecs – the payment software to many corporate organisations and the TSA.

 

The legislators submitted that based on interaction with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), the Director of TSA acknowledged the total receipts of TSA as at April 2018 stood to include N9,782,682,923,739.17 and a consolidated balance of N547,493,970.50 while ministries, departments and agencies’ (MDAs) enrolment was 1,678.

 

The plenary therefore advised the Ministry of Finance and the OAGF as well as the CBN to intensify efforts at full implementation of the TSA, just as it called for the sanctioning of erring MDAs and strengthening of the initiative among others.

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E-Financial

SEC, NFIU Sign Agreement to Tackle Capital Market Fraud

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The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Wednesday, signed an agreement with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, to eliminate suspicious transactions from the Nigerian capital market. capital market In a statement in Abuja,

Ms. Mary Uduk, acting Director General of SEC, said the collaboration was necessary in order to close ranks in the face of insider dealings, re-awakening of Ponzi schemes, cybercrime and other fraudulent activities that have engulfed the market in the last few years. Uduk, noted that the Commission was paying close attention to digital transactions and was in the process of amending its rules to capture such transactions.

The Acting DG disclosed that the Commission already has regulations that prohibits shell companies from operating in the capital market and implored the NFIU to assist with solutions to track suspicious transactions as they occur.

“If we have solutions that will help us track transactions, it will reduce incidence of insider dealing greatly. We would be very willing to collaborate with you on that in our determination to ensure that our markets are efficient and transparent and all investors are protected,” Uduk said.

According to Uduk, some areas where the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU seeks Cooperation of both Agencies includes training, secondment of middle cadre officers between both organisations, cross boarder monitoring, repatriation of stolen funds from the capital market and prosecution of offenders amongst others.

On the rising spate of Ponzi schemes in the country, Uduk stressed the need for more collaboration between both organisations and further sensitization to ensure unsuspecting Nigerians do not continue to lose their hard earned money.

Also speaking, Director of NFIU, Mr. Modibbo Tukur, commended the SEC for the relationship that has existed between both organisations and assured that the NFIU would continue to play its part in ensuring that the financial system is safe for Nigerians to operate.

To this end, Tukur disclosed that the NFIU is making efforts to ensure that the financial system is rid of shell companies adding that for companies to exist, they should have physical addresses.

He said, “If anyone establishes a company, it has to be a company indeed and we have to be firm on this. This has become more important now given the roll out of the ECOWAS single currency, because with that, we know that capital and investments will move across borders and it is a single currency. So we have to step up regulation to avoid fraudulent transactions.

“We will commence by September and some companies would have to be deregistered if they do not meet the criteria. We will publish the parameters and also give them enough time to regularise after which those that do not comply before the deadline will be shut down. If you have an empty company hanging in the system, it is a potential danger and we should not allow it to thrive.”

Tukur stated that by the time the NFIU commences the due diligence on the shell companies, the information will be shared with the SEC for their further action and commended the SEC on its regulation that does not presently allow shell companies to operate in the capital market.

“Analysis would now be digital so the organisation would be able to share information on transactions as fast as possible adding that the capital market being a very sensitive one, care has to be taken on information dissemination to avoid disruptions” he added.

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AfDB Blacklists Nigerian Firm, Its MD for Alleged Fraudulent Practice

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African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has announced the debarment of Lutoyilex Construct Limited, a construction company registered in Nigeria and Mr. Bamidele Obiniyi (also known as Mr. Bamidele Abayomi), its managing director, for a period of 36 months.

 

An investigation conducted by the Bank’s Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that Lutoyilex Construct Limited engaged in fraudulent practice while bidding for a construction contract under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase One in Nigeria (ATASP-1).

 

According to the AfDB, while participating in a tender for the construction of social infrastructure in Niger State of Nigeria, the company misrepresented its experience in conducting similar construction contracts.

 

The debarment renders the company and its Managing Director ineligible to participate in Bank-financed projects during the debarment period.

 

The debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Debarment Decisions, including the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

 

ATASP-1 is financed under the African Development Fund administered by the African Development Bank Group.

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Man Allegedly Hacks into Wema Bank Account, Steals N4m

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Nonso Okereke, a 29-year-old man has been being arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly hacking into a Wema Bank account and stealing N4 million.

 

Okereke, allegedly committed the offence in connivance with Emeka Onumba, 36-year-old man.

 

Inspector Ingobo Emby, the police prosecutor, who brought the suspects before Magistrate A.O. Alogba, claimed that the duo committed the offences sometime in January at Wema Bank headquarters, located at 54, Marina Street, Lagos Island.

 

He informed the court that the defendants hacked into an account of Wema Bank, fraudulently transferred N4 million into various accounts, and later withdrew the money and shared, which the prosecutor said contravened Sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

 

When the charges were read to them, the suspects pleaded not guilty, while the magistrate granted them bail in the sum of N400,000 each with two sureties each in like sum who must have N500,000 in their bank accounts, with the case adjourned till July 18 for trial.

 

But as a result of the fear created by this report last week, Wema Bank has emphasised that its system was never hacked by the suspects, assuring customers that their deposits were safe.

 

“Wema Bank remains committed to protecting the funds of their customers and offering safe and secure banking services,” the financial institution said.

 

Explaining what happened, it was gathered after an investigation that the said sum was fraudulently withdrawn from the Wema Bank account of Maxwell Odoemenam without his consent by swapping the customer’s SIM card through the telecom company.

 

The SIM card swapped was due to failed controls on the part of the telecoms firm who did not carry out due diligence before allowing the SIM card swap. This is beyond the control of the bank, as they do not issue SIM card to customers, we learned.

 

The investigation further reveals that the customer had initially visited our Lawanson branch on 20/12/2018 to request for the balance in his account and when he was availed his account balance, he discovered that there was a shortfall of N20,100.00 in his balance. Further review of his statement of account revealed that the sum of N19,000 was transferred from his account via USSD platform into the account of one Amadi Promise in Union Bank, while the balance of N1,100 was used to purchase airtime recharge for his mobile line.

 

He however claimed that he did not register for USSD or any online platform with the bank thus, the transactions were fraudulent and not at his instance.

 

Upon interrogation of the customer, he explained that he had earlier visited Airtel Office to complain of network downtime on his phone number (08121730557), which he registered with the bank and he was notified by a staff of Airtel Office that someone had tampered with his SIM card, hence, he visited our Lawanson branch to request that his phone number be changed to another.

 

The staff of Lawanson branch (Wema Bank) who attended to the customer claimed that he advised the customer to allow the bank to place a debit restriction on his account to avert further fraud on it but that the customer did not agree with her but rather requested for a change of telephone number on the account because it is his business account and that he did not want any restriction on it so as not to disrupt his business.

 

Hence, restriction was not placed on his account but his profile was deactivated on the USSD platform.

 

The customer however denied the assertion that he rejected the Officer’s advice on placing a restriction on his account.

 

Unknown to the customer, after the initial N20,100 transactions, the fraudster(s) had already enrolled the customer on ALAT platform using the customer’s telephone number and other BVN details.

 

The telephone number was fraudulently swapped at the Telecommunication company which gave them access to the customer’s BVN details on NIBSS platform.

 

Upon the successful enrolment of the customer’s account on the ALAT platform, funds totalling N4,056,500.00 were fraudulently transferred to Adanna Mary Opara (N210,000.00), Okeke Favour (N100,000.00), Onumba Peter (N3,646,500.00) and Anyanwu Chinonyerem (N100,000) in Access, Union and GTBank, respectively.

 

The bank has refunded the customer with the lost funds and got the fraudsters arrested through the instrumentality of the Police to ensure substantive justice on the matter.

 

Onumba Peter, one of the fraudsters apprehended by the Police claimed that one Nonso Okereke introduced the fraud to him.

 

 

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