By Dipo Olowookere
A prosecution witness known as Mr Chuks Igboerika, who works as a manager with Access Bank Plc, has narrated how his company was allegedly duped by one of its customers to the tune of N1.2 billion.
Mr Igboerika informed Justice M.S. Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday, July 23, 2018, that the suspect, Mr Ifeanyi Nwaneri, allegedly carried out fraudulent transactions using a Point of Sale (POS) device.
Mr Nwaneri is facing trial alongside Omede Silas Shehu and Monday Akor on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion.
The complainant, Access Bank Plc, alleged it deployed a POS terminal enabled for international transactions/cards to Mr Nwaneri, who is one of the bank’s customers with account number 0047820964.
It was further alleged that the accused person, who claimed to be a businessman, was later found to have carried out fraudulent transactions on the POS.
The bank also alleged that on September 22, 2017, the POS Unit of the bank received a mail from Interswitch on alleged fraudulent transactions totalling N1.2 billion via the merchant’s terminal, a development that led to the arrest of the suspect at the Dopemu, Agege, Lagos branch of the bank.
At the time of his arrest, Mr Nwaneri was said to have withdrawn a sum of N532.9 million, leaving a sum of N677.9 million in his account.
At the resumed hearing, the prosecution witness told the court that findings and reviews done by VISA and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revealed that the POS transactions did not follow the normal procedure for international card transaction.
Led by the prosecution counsel, Nnemeka Omewa, the witness said: “The transactions should have procedurally gone through the issuing bank, which is Access Bank Plc. Then, it should have gone to VISA, that is the owner of the card, through Interswitch, which serves as a switching company and finally to the POS merchant (the first defendant) through the consent of Access Bank.”
He said the transaction, however, went from the merchant POS to Interswitch without getting to VISA.
“But they were all approved by Interswitch as successful transactions,” he added.
He also told the court that findings by the CBN revealed that the transactions were fraudulent and consummated between Interswitch and the POS merchant.
“Consequently, Interswitch was sanctioned with 75 percent of the total loss to Access Bank; another bank was sanctioned with five percent of the total loss for its role in the transactions; Access Bank (the merchant’s bank) was sanctioned with 20 percent of the total loss based on its negligence on Know Your Customer (KYC) policy,” the witness further said.
Giving further testimony, the witness told the court that a sum of N677 million was recovered from the first defendant’s bank account, leaving a debit balance of over N532 million deficit, which was shared amongst the three parties.
Meanwhile, the case was adjourned to Thursday, July 26, 2018 for continuation of trial.
CBN Gives DPO Group Payment Services Licence
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted a license to One Payment Limited, a subsidiary of the leading Pan-African digital payments group, DPO Group, to provide certain types of payments services to businesses across Nigeria.
This payment services licence enables the DPO Group to operate as an independent payment solutions services company in Nigeria as it does across over 20 other countries in Africa.
DPO offers merchant aggregation services to over 60,000 active merchants, including e-commerce companies, airlines and travel agents through its robust and reliable network which allows merchants to accept payments in the currency of their choice.
Working across local and international channels, DPO also offers strong protection against fraud and helps merchants manage refunds, chargebacks and more.
The company will be banking on e-commerce which has seen significant growth in Nigeria in recent years, due to high levels of internet penetration combined with being one of the largest digital economies on the continent.
Digital payments make up the large majority of payment volumes in the country, and volumes are expected to reach 7.7 billion by 2025, representing a growth of 45 per cent from 2019.
Speaking on this, Mr Eran Feinstein, CEO of DPO Group, stated that, “Nigeria represents a key market for any business with a digital focus, as one of the most innovative African countries when it comes to fintech and e-commerce.
“This new licence is an exciting development which will allow us to offer an even smoother payment process for Nigerian businesses looking to grow and reach more customers through secure digital payments.”
DPO’s country manager in Nigeria, Mrs Chidinma Aroyewun said, “This licence provides an exciting opportunity for us at DPO. It allows us to work with tens of thousands of Nigerian businesses and help them achieve their growth goals through secure payment technology.”
DPO Group was acquired by Network International in 2021 in a landmark deal for the African payments space. It continues to operate under the same brand in existing territories and will be launching a new comprehensive payment solution, DPO Pay for businesses across Africa and other territories.
BVN: Reps to Investigate Unclaimed Trillions of Naira in Banks
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The House of Representatives has taken a step to investigate the alleged trillions of Naira trapped in commercial banks because owners of the funds have failed to link their bank accounts with the Bank Verification Number (BVN).
In February 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the BVN and gave bank customers till June 2015 to link their accounts with the BVN.
The scheme was introduced to check and combat money laundering, illicit financing and duplications in the ownership of bank accounts used for fraud.
But almost eight years after the policy was introduced by the apex bank, several bank account owners are to link their accounts with the BVN, meaning they have not been able to access funds in their accounts.
On Thursday, this issue was raised at the lower arm of the National Assembly in a motion moved by a lawmaker, Mr Dachung Bogos.
According to the green chamber of the parliament, about 45.85 million bank accounts are yet to be linked to BVNs as reports by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) of June 23, 2021, stated that the total number of bank accounts in Nigeria as at May 2019 was 122.07 million, while active accounts as at May 2020 stood at 72.94 million.
It was claimed that suspicious monies running into trillions of Naira were left unclaimed in various banks across the country because their owners had failed to register for the BVN or link to existing ones where appropriate and that commercial banks have flagrantly continued to hold on to the unclaimed monies longer than necessary against the directives of the CBN.
The lawmakers argued that despite the introduction of BVN to curb the misappropriation of funds in the financial sector, about 71 million customers still use their accounts without the compulsory requirement from NIBSS.
When the market was debated during plenary, it was agreed that there is a need to constitute an ad-hoc to look into the suspicious and unclaimed funds in commercial banks as well as unremitted funds collected by commercial banks on behalf of agencies and departments of the federal government.
Zenith Bank to Give Akwa Ibom N4.7bn Loan for Auto Plant
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The government of Akwa Ibom State is planning to obtain a loan of N4.7 billion from Zenith Bank Plc for the establishment of Mimshac Automobile Assembly Plant.
The auto plant is to be located in Ikot Ukap, Itu Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, a former director at Zenith Bank, approached the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for approval of the credit facility.
Mr Emmanuel, in a message forwarded to the Speaker of the House, Mr Aniekan Bassey, and read by the Clerk, Mrs Mandu Umoren, at plenary on Tuesday, explained that the loan will aid the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Akwa Ibom State Government and Mimshac Digital Ltd Automobile Plant for the sum of $10 million (about N4.7 billion at the exchange rate of N470/$1.
According to the Governor, the said amount from Zenith Bank will help “finance the procurement of Semi Knocked Down and Complete Knocked Down (CKD) parts for the assembling of 85 stainless steel, 20-seater luxury buses.”
He further explained that the money will also facilitate the training of 20 persons recommended by the state government on the assemblage and manufacturing of vehicles in Israel.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Thursday, the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly said the loan request was supported by lawmakers, who said it would boost the economy of the state and create more jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
The lawmakers assured that the House will continue to support Governor Emmanuel in his quest to leave the state better than he met it.
The Speaker, while speaking after the loan request approval, directed the Clerk to communicate the resolution of the parliament to Mr Emmanuel.
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