N52 Million Cloned Cheques Scandal rocks Skye Bank

Source: pointblanknews.com

Kehinde Durosinmi-​Etti
A N52 million cloned cheque scandal is currently rocking one of Nigeria's top banks, Skye.

Pointblanknews.com learnt that two cloned cheques were used to take out N52 million from a customer's account with full cover from an Accounts Officer in Skye Bank. And the victim is alleged to be the Lagos Ministry of Establishment and Training.

After increasing its capital base last year, the management of Skye Bank is planning to raise to raise medium-to-long term tier 2 capital of up to N50 billion.Group Managing Director of the Bank, Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, disclosed this recently, at the bank's pre annual general meeting. Speaking on the bank's performance for the previous financial year, he said the group earnings for the year was N83.91 billion, a 20 per cent annualized reduction when compared to N131.52 billion in the previous 15 months period.

According to highly placed sources in the bank, two cloned checks with numbers 10000738 and 1000079 , were allegedly used to withdraw N52 Million from the account of the Lagos State Ministry of Establishment and Training at the bank's Alausa Secretariat Branch, Ikeja.

Pointblanknews.com gathered that the ministry had issued two cheques from same bank with similar numbers and for lesser amounts. The amount on the original cheques were: N400,000.00 and N4, 249, 429.40.

Sources hinted that with alleged connivance of highly placed bank officials both cheques were altered and the face value hiked to N23,830.192 and N26, 750.400 respectively . It was further learnt that when Officials of the ministry, found out the discrepancy in the account balance, they had to threaten Skye Bank before a refund was hurriedly made.

Proceeds from one of the cloned cheques was allegedly traced to an Intercontinental Bank account with holder name: Olu Obafemi Ventures. The police are said to have arrested the beneficiary as investigation continues. Our source however hinted that the investigation is looking at the possibility of some officials of the ministry aiding the scam.

According to our source “ this kind of deals most times is run by officials of the bank in concert with top officials of a ministry or agency. Once they have the signatures on the original cheques, they alter the figures and re present. As for confirmation, once the account officer gives the go ahead, its done” Pointblanknews.com sources also disclosed that whole drama became more weird when the account officerwho authorized the payment claimed that he had received a confirmation letter from the ministry authorizing the payment via an email.

Said our source :” He could not produce the said confirmation letter. They are required to get a duly signed confirmation letters from the signatories before a cheque is honored. This happens all the time in the banks. You issue a cheque, then they will alter it with the connivance of account officers and other officials..and the present it. Don't forget the account officer always gives the go ahead. If it were to be little amounts the ministry may not have realized “