Police recover stolen funds from bank fraudsters …as CP extols CBN's cashless policy

By The Citizen

The Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, Lagos, Tunde Ogunsakin has identified the current cash policy and the Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number Scheme (NUBAN) introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria as factors that have boosted the efforts of the law enforcement agencies towards recovering proceeds of frauds from individuals engaged in swindling banks and their customers.

Ogunsakin, who spoke yesterday in Lagos at a workshop on 'Corporate Fraud: Insider Abuse in Banks and other Financial Institutions' said that the fiscal policies of the apex bank have checkmated unwholesome cash handling by fraudsters who, he said, have adopted sophiscated technology in circumventing the security systems put in place by banks and customers.

According to the Police Commissioner, these fraudulent activities are prevalent considering the 'regularly reported cases at the Police Special Fraud Unit involving frauds perpetrated through the channels of Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Mobile Telephony Banking, Internet Banking, Electronic (Wire) Instruction Transfer of Funds, Point of Sales (POS) Banking, Credit/Debit Cards Scheme'.

He stated that 'the most common among electronic banking fraud is the money transfer scheme where either the bank customers account passwords are either stolen hacked into or where the security pass codes of bank officials are compromised or when the bank's electronic platform is illegally intruded upon by fraudsters'.

According to the Commissioner, 'in the first scenario, fraudulent wire transfer instructions are scanned supposedly from the customers account profile to the bank relationship managers and either through active connivance or sheer negligence on the part of the bank, such platform instructions are honoured by the bank as money running into hundreds of millions of Naira are paid into fraudsters nominated bank accounts. In the second scenario, the bank's e-platform is completely hijacked by fraudsters and swift transfer of large chunks of funds running to several millions of Naira is affected into nominated accounts of fraudsters' proxies and allies'.

He therefore advised banks to be security conscious in order to 'reduce the spate of bank fraud in general and electronic banking fraud in particular, by strictly adhering to the guidelines on electronic banking in Nigeria issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria'. He further advised all bank customers to protect their Personal Identification Number (PIN) as a means of forestalling the activities of the fraudsters.

On the challenges of the Police in handling bank fraud cases, Ogunsakin lamented that 'the lack of well equipped forensic laboratories, lack of data base of criminals, inadequate legislation, cost of investigation, inadequate working tools, inadequate collaboration with private sector and inadequate international collaborative framework' were limiting factors.

He also added that 'information necessary for early detection of bank frauds and recovery process were usually withheld by most banks because top level bank officials do not want negative publicity for their bank'.

In his final remarks, the Police Commissioner however reiterated the commitment of the force towards investigating and detecting bank frauds and other financial crimes as a means of ensuring a secure banking experience for all Nigerians.