Connect with us

Banking

Businessman Loses Billions of Naira, Properties to First Bank

Published

on

Businessman Loses Billions of Naira, Properties to First Bank

By Dipo Olowookere

Properties worth millions of Naira and money worth billions of Naira have been lost to First Bank by a businessman and owner of SmartMicro, Mr Michael Obasuyi Osasogie.

The items, which include a total of 116 cars and 20 landed properties scattered in Edo, Rivers and Lagos States, were seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and handed over to the financial institution on Wednesday, November 28, 2018.

Trouble began for Mr Osasogie after a petition he wrote to the anti-corruption agency against E-tranzact in March 2018.

The commission had, however, investigated Mr Osasogie’s business interests, following receipt of a counter-petition written by e-tranzact against him and one of his companies, SmartMicro.

SmartMicro was said to have approached e-tranzact in 2012 for the deployment of bulk purchase solution called “Corporatepay” to facilitate payment of salaries of Delta State employees in microfinance banks.

It was also alleged that e-tranzact configured an additional outbound fund transfer solution called “Fundgate” in 2017, which required SmartMicro to maintain a pre-funded settlement account with First Bank Plc for settlement of account it had initiated.

However, e-tranzact had further alleged that the bank, sometime in March 2018, revealed that the settlement account was in debit of N11,498,944,038.29.

Mr Osasogie, in his statement to the EFCC, confessed to have committed the crime, stating that he created fraudulent and imaginary monies through the aid of Fundgate Financial Application from the company.

Consequently, Mr Osasogie was arraigned alongside his firms-Platinum Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, SmartMicro Systems Limited and Platinum Smart Cruise Motors Limited on May 24, 2018 before Justice Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja on a 14-count charge bordering on stealing to the tune of N11.5 billion.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Michael Obasuyi Osasogie, Platinum Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, SmartMicro Systems Limited and Platinum Smart Cruise Motors Limited, sometime in the year 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to commit felony, to wit: stealing of the sum of N11,498, 944, 038.29 property of First Bank Nigeria Ltd.”

He pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against.

During his trial, an investigator with the EFCC, Orji Chukwuma, had told the court how the proceeds of crime were housed in some new generation banks.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Chukwuma had told the court that “SmartMicro Systems Limited assumed a position of a fictitious microfinance bank in Nigeria through a software, Micro switch Server 1.1 created by the defendant as well as two genuine microfinance banks, which he used to carry out his fraud.

“The defendant later opened an account with First Bank Plc and subsequently raised an overdraft from his fictitious microfinance bank for his account in the bank, which it ignorantly paid.”

In his further testimony, the witness had told the court that when e-tranzact disconnected from the chain, all the transactions carried out by the defendant collapsed on his own account with First Bank, thereby leading to the discovery of the fraud.

The sums of N2,903,727,563.92, $37,992.87 and €18,538.09 were recovered by the commission from Mr Osasogie’s accounts in various banks in the country.

The agency also recovered 116 cars and 20 properties located in Lagos, Abuja, Benin and Port Harcourt.

The prosecution counsel had, therefore, urged the court to convict the defendant on counts one to 14, according to the law.

The defendant later entered into plea bargain. The prosecution counsel therefore urged the court to consider the plea bargain entered into by the defendant on May 21, 2018 as judgment in his sentencing.

Counsel to the first and second defendant, Osasu Ogebor, had told the court that his clients went into a plea bargain in order to give out what does not belong to him.

“It is not enough for the accused person to say I am sorry for what he has done. But from his inner heart, he is absolutely sorry, my Lord”, Ogebor had pleaded.

Counsels to the third and fourth defendants also aligned themselves with Ogebor’s prayers.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Dada convicted the defendant on all the counts and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment.

The Judge also ordered the forfeiture of defendant’s 116 buses, 20 properties and monies in various accounts to First Bank Plc.

At the hand- over ceremony, which held in one of the forfeited houses at Osapa London, Lekki-Lagos, Kaina Garba, Head Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Management Unit of the EFCC, Lagos office, handed over the documents and keys to the properties to Gabriel Edobor, Head, Remedial and Classified Assets Management Department, First Bank Plc and Eme Godwin, Group Head, Legal Unit, E-transact.

In a show of appreciation, both Edobor and Godwin thanked the EFCC for ensuring the recovery of the properties through diligent and uncompromising investigative efforts.

Businessman Loses Billions of Naira, Properties to First Bank

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Banking

Digital Banking – A Catalyst for Economic Growth and Financial Empowerment

Published

on

Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria

By Lamin Manjang

Think back to a time when the word ‘Bank’ came to mind. It conjures images of long queues, tally numbers, paperwork to complete, pressure to process transactions within working hours, awaiting physical approvals on transactions.

Fast forward to more recent times with the impact of technology and financial literacy, the word ‘Bank’ connotes different reactions to many people. Personalized financial growth, opportunities for business collaborations, access to foreign investment opportunities, transferable generational wealth and financial security all on one’s terms are some of the prevailing thoughts for customers.

Customers now have access to information around the clock at the touch of their fingers and as such can determine what financial needs they want their financial partners to meet. The union of innovation, digital literacy and collaborative opportunities to provide financial services, gives us the solution that is Digital Banking.

Digital banking in Nigeria has evolved significantly over the last five years to become an important part of our daily activities, driving e-commerce, wealth creation, payment solutions, financial empowerment, and improved standards of living.

In a world of digital banking and with innovation and technology positioning itself as the future of payments and wealth creation, there are several opportunities for financial institutions to tackle some of the country’s biggest challenges around job creation, economic empowerment and financial inclusion for youths while being a catalyst for efficiency within the sector.

As with any endeavour towards automation, curiosity with heightened caution is expected primarily around the impact on employment opportunities and business sustainability. However, the reality is that with digitization comes immense opportunities for employees in any organisation to acquire new skills that position them for the future working environment which will be predominantly digital.

Digitization fosters efficiency. For example, it broadens and extends a bank’s ability to reach existing and new customers, previously unreachable due to the limitations of the physical brick and mortar branches. Digitisations simplifies manual processes through automation; reduces delays encountered by end-users; creates new job opportunities, thereby creating multiple opportunities for reskilling, upskilling, and redeploying of employees into new roles.

At Standard Chartered, we are a listening and customer-centric financial institution. We are focussed on understanding how our customers want to transact; how we can improve on the products and services that are important to them while ensuring a smooth delivery method to these solutions.

A growing number of our customers are telling us that they want financial solutions that they can access and utilize anytime and anywhere from the convenience of their own mobile devices.

They want to be able to access investment opportunities 24/7 on the go at their fingertips and equally connect with our customer care specialists who can support them whenever they have any queries. Continuous optimization of our digital banking solutions enables us to meet these financial needs.

In December 2021, as part of the digitization journey we embarked on a few years ago towards enhancing our processes, we closed down 10 of our branches in Lagos and Abuja and made significant investments towards optimizing our operating channels, products and service solutions to suit the demands of our clients.

The decision, with the approval of the regulator, was also driven in response to changes in customer transaction behaviour. We have witnessed significant adoption of our digital banking services by customers as most of them continue to prioritize convenient banking over the need to visit any of our physical locations to access our products and services.

In addition to our customer-centric digital strategy, we pride ourselves in the implementation of a forward-looking People Strategy where we proactively plan our workforce needs to fulfil our Business Strategy.

The banking landscape is very dynamic with rapidly changing customer needs. This year, in response to this, we continue to strategically prepare our employees for the future working environment which will be primarily digital. We continue to upskill, equip, and redeploy employees especially those impacted by the closure of the branches in Lagos and Abuja to ensure career growth and stability for our employees this year.

But digitization is not just for the advantage of our customers and employees only. Digitisation provides an opportunity to positively impact the communities too.

The importance of quick access to finance for example cannot be undervalued and with financial exclusion still being a barrier in some parts of Nigeria – digital innovation in banking can influence positive transformation within the sector.

Recently the bank launched its Agency Banking service as part of its Digital Banking proposition to clients across Lagos. This builds on the launch of our world-class digital bank in December 2019. SC Mobile, the Bank’s mobile app has practically put the bank in the palms of the client as clients are able to open new accounts end to end, transfer funds, effect static data changes, get cards delivered to their doorstep, invest in real-time etc.

We equally launched our Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service, *977# which caters to clients who may not have access to internet service and wish to transact. These are just some of the initiatives we continue to drive in support of CBN’s financial inclusion agenda to empower Nigerians.

We have taken a ‘Capturing the Digital Initiative’ approach that ensures that over 70 per cent of the most common service requests can be handled by our digital bank with distinct benefits such as a zero charge on all interbank transactions, zero charges on SMS notifications and free delivery of cards to customers regardless of location. We remain forward-thinking on how best we can continue to simplify and improve our customers experience with the bank.

From the 2020 NIBBS report, customers between 25 and 34 years old carried out 36% of all interbank instant payments. With an estimated 60% of the Nigerian population setting the tone for adopting innovative technology, it is essential to welcome the latter while also firmly holding the former by striking a balance in responding to customer-specific needs.

Digital banking is no longer a series of financial transactions and services. It is an innovative solution towards providing empowerment and creating sustainable prosperity for our clients, colleagues and the community. This is the future and we are all encouraged to adopt and maximize these changes for the benefit of all.

Lamin Manjang is the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria.

Continue Reading

Banking

KPMG Ranks Ecobank Among Top Five Customer-centric Nigerian Banks

Published

on

ecobank customer forum

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Ecobank Nigeria Limited has been ranked among the top five customer-centric financial institutions operating in the country.

The ranking was done by a leading audit and professional services company in Nigeria, KPMG, in its 2021 survey of Nigerian banks.

Ecobank Nigeria was number five in the study in the Wholesale (Corporate) Banking category of the KPMG Customers’ Experience and Satisfaction Survey.

When compared with the previous year, the lender moved eight places higher, which was a significant improvement.

The top banks in order of rating include Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, FCMB, Zenith and Ecobank Nigeria.

KPMG explained that Ecobank and other leaders in the segment demonstrated digital banking excellence with higher transaction volumes; adding that they were seen as partners to corporates and also move quickly to address and exceed customer needs.

“Our annual banking survey continues to provide an independent platform for banks and other organizations to acquire this outside-in perspective and understand the voice and priorities of Nigerian customers.

“This year, our results reveal a very competitive landscape in the race for the customer and at the same time, customer feedback that recognizes the effort and innovation of Nigerian banks,” the respected firm stated.

Specifically, it stated that, “In the report, we explore, in more detail, key priorities for corporates such as transaction banking support as well as the payments experience for retail customers.”

The KPMG Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey has been held annually for the last 15 years with the 2021 edition themed Changing Customer, Changing Priorities.

The experience survey measures the performance of lenders in the country in terms of their relationship with their account holders and other users of financial services. They are usually rated in three categories – Retail, SME and Wholesale.

The 2020 survey covered 15,056 retail customers, 1,856 SMEs and 332 commercial/corporate organisations. Respondents were selected from customers who have interacted with their banks in the last six months.

Continue Reading

Banking

Keystone Bank Introduces Incubator Scheme for Startups

Published

on

Keystone Bank Principles for Responsible Banking

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A specialised incubator scheme with offerings to address the needs of startup businesses has been introduced by Keystone Bank Limited, a fast-growing financial services provider.

The initiative tagged The Keystone Startup Advantage Programme (KSA Programme), will provide the necessary support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups in Nigeria.

This is in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for the growth of the SMEs sector and aligns with the United Nations Envision #2030 Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 8 – to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

“Recent reports reveal an increasing attraction of foreign Venture Capital investment into the African startup ecosystem, with Nigeria boasting of the largest number of startups in Africa.

“In 2019, Africa’s venture capital investments rose to an all-time high. According to Partech, 234 African tech companies raised $2.02 billion in 250 equity rounds. This indicated a 74% increase from 2018’s figure of $1.16 billion raised by 146 startups in 164 rounds.

“2021 witnessed increased venture capital funding in African startups between $2.25 billion and $2.8 billion. As of August 2021, a national newspaper published a report that Nigerian startups raised $276.5m within seven months,” a statement issued on Monday by the bank stated.

“There is a growing interest from several foreign investors who are keen on investing in Nigeria’s digital economy given the nation’s ranking as one of the leading startup ecosystems in Africa.

“These recent trends have led to the passing of Nigeria’s Startup Bill (NSB), set to leverage ICT platforms to create jobs while ensuring that the diversification of the economy creates more support to other emerging sectors,” the financial institution added.

In his comments, the Divisional Head, Retail, SME & Value Chain Division, Keystone Bank, Mr Anayo Nwosu, said capacity building remains key for the growth and development of SMEs, adding that SMEs in every part of the world are the livewire of the economy.

“Like in every economy of the world, SMEs are the lifelines. They contribute significantly to the economy’s GDP, creation of jobs and wealth, economic prosperity, and of course, all these details to economic growth and development,” he explained.

“There are so many challenges associated with birthing a business in the country but by plugging into the ideas and experiences shared by experts in the industry at this training and also the grants, the sky is their starting point.

“Through the programme, it is our vision as a bank to impact 100 startups annually and up to 1,000 startups in the next five to ten years,” he said further.

Mr Nwosu further disclosed that the KSA programme, a three to four-month Investor Readiness scheme, will adopt a blended approach, as it will offer a hybrid option with virtual and physical sessions.

He also added that three successful SMEs/startups from the programme will win a N3 million grant each to support their business operations.

“The modules will be both tutor-led, and self-study modules within a friendly e-learning platform. It will be an intensive programme designed to have groups as well as one-on-one mentoring and coaching sessions during the period.

“The programme will serve as a platform to connect innovative SMEs and tech startups with potential investors.

“Startups will also be able to get the knowledge and skills needed to fast track their business to the next growth phase.

“The programme will be premiered on January 24 and 25, 2022, with an Open Day webinar tagged Building Sustainable Startups. Applications will open on January 31 for interested and eligible tech startups & SMEs with innovative ideas, solutions and business methods to submit entries.

“All the information needed to learn more about the programme, its opening webinar and how to apply are available on the bank’s website,” he concluded.

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

Continue Reading

Like Our Facebook Page

Latest News on Business Post

Trending

%d bloggers like this: