POS Operator Dupes Access Bank N1.2b
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At the time of his arrest, Mr Nwaneri was said to have withdrawn a sum of N532.9 million, leaving a sum of N677.9 million in his account.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.