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Four employees of Fidelity Bank arrested over N200 million scam

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Four Fidelity Bank Plc workers, together with eleven accomplices, are facing criminal charges in a Lagos High Court for allegedly defrauding the bank of N200 million.

In the suit number FHC/10/10089c/19 the four Fidelity Bank staff identified as: Olusegun Babasola, Abisola Ahmed, Uchechukwu Uma and Jude Alphaeus, were charged alongside eleven others: Adeowale Jeff Johnson, Ogubiukwu Peace Chinenye, Olanrewaju Joseph, Alabi Adeola Abiodun, Umaru Hamsu, Olagbaju Oladayo, Afeez Mudashiru, Ayokanmi Oshagbami, Anyor Isaac Ushang, Bashir Olanrewaju and Lanre Yusuf.

The 15 defendants were all docked on a 2-count charge of conspiracy and stealing by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. According to the head of Legal and prosecuting counsel of the EFCC, A. B. C. Ozioko ESQ, the 15 defendants committed the alleged offence in Lagos The EFCC counsel told the court that the offence committed by the defendants contravened Sections 278(1)(2) & 285(1) and 9(b) of the criminal law of Lagos State, 2011.

The head of Investigations Group of Internal Audit and Investigations Division of Fidelity Bank, Onovae Oghenovo, had petitioned the EFCC narrating how fraudulent transfers of the sum of over N150m were made from the accounts of Fidelity Bank Motor Vehicle Insurance sinking fund/5080019844 and Interswitch Ltd/5080119696, OVH Energy Marketing Ltd/4010015571 and FSL Securities LTD/4010051187 (customers of the bank).

Oghenovo, in the petition, said that internal investigation is still ongoing to ascertain the full amount and that the affected transactions were consummated with ATM debit cards, which were fraudulently linked to the accounts.

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“Having fraudulently primed and linked the debits to the above-mentioned accounts, the fraudsters then made various ATM cash withdrawals from different ATM terminals, POS purchases, bill payments as well as ATM fund transfers. “Also preliminary investigation revealed that 22 of the debit cards used to perpetrate the frauds were cloned as their PAN matches those issued to some of the bank customers,” Oghenovo said. According to Oghenovo, preliminary investigations conducted showed that the fraudulent transactions were processed by the user credentials of two of the bank’s staff, Jude Alphaeus and Uchechukwu Uma.

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“However, both Jude and Uma claimed that they are suspecting their subordinates namely: Ann Obiakor, Adesina Abosede, Andrew John, Olusegun Babasola, Chinedu Aharanwa, Ifeanyi Dike, Sunday Adaraloye, Ahmed Ajisola, Oluchi Ifedigbo, Mac Donald Louis, and Toheed Ajoa.

“The internal review showed that Omidiji Joseph Olarewaju’s account number 3218570016 in FCMB received a fraudulent proceed of N150m and subsequently transferred the sums of N7.17m and N14.43m to Waltham BDC and Findrex Aviation business school account numbers 0022550922 and 2031957515 with Union Bank of Nigeria and First Bank of Nigeria respectively.

“Also Yusuf Samuel, Alabi Adeola Abiodun, and Ojelabi Sunday Adeyemi, with the account numbers: 5909407018, 2803961017, 5835504010 received the sums of N1.95m, N2.94m, N1.5m respectively with FCMB. “Also both Olusegun Babasola and Ahmed Ajisola (now at large) viewed the victims accounts prior to the fraud incident”.

The case has been adjourned to 28th September, 2021. Fidelity Bank, not new to similar fraudulent crime Fidelity Bank Plc is however not new to such controversies. Recall that three officials of the bank were arrested by the police for allegedly hacking into the bank accounts of customers and diverting a total sum of N150 million.

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Fidelity Bank Plc, a tier-2 lender in Nigeria, led by Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe as its Chief Executive Officer, The officials, Oyelade Shola-Isaac, 32, Osuolale Hammid, 40, and Akeem Adesina, 33, were apprehended along with eight other suspects in connection with the fraud.

Three of the accomplices, Okpetu John, 29; Chukwumnoso Ifeanyi, 30; and Salako Abdulsalam were said to be MTN agents, while others were identified as Ismaeel Salami, 49; Akinola Oghuan, 34; Sarumi Abubakar, 32; James Idagu, 56; and 33-year-old Sunday Okeke.

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It was gathered that five of the suspects, including the kingpin, Salami, were rounded up by operatives of the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police Force at an eatery in the Bode Thomas area of the state. About 32 Automated Teller Machine cards belonging to the victims were reportedly recovered from Salami’s car. They were said to have led operatives to Kwara and Oyo States, where other members of the gang were apprehended.

The Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), said the bankers carried out the fraud on the accounts of customers, who did not subscribe to internet banking. According to the police, “The work of the network provider suspects was to assist the bankers to swap the SIM cards of the targeted bank customers so that they were unable to receive alerts of any transactions on their accounts within the period that money was stolen from their accounts. “The suspects, after successful withdrawals of the money, transferred the money into about 40 different accounts to avoid being detected. They carried out their operations at weekends and public holidays so as to evade being detected by the bank monitoring mechanisms or the owners of the accounts. They defrauded their victims to the tune of over N150m.” Similarly, recall the EFCC had arraigned five workers of the lender Plc before Justice Archibong Archibong of the Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo over a diversion of dead customers’ money for personal use. The accused were arraigned on a 23-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery, obtaining by false pretense and criminal conversion of depositors’ funds to the tune of N37,690,000. The accused were identified as Mbong Essien, Akwa Akwa, Precious John, Kenneth Udoetuk and Ubong Udom. According to the anti-graft agency, the Uyo Zonal Office uncovered the criminal syndicate of bankers which specialises in forging signatures of deceased bank customers and stealing from their accounts. EFCC said the suspects also executed fraudulent financial transactions, including unauthorised debits of depositors’ funds. “Investigation by the EFCC revealed that Mbong used his position as the head, Operations and Transaction Service and Delivery, to establish a criminal syndicate that specialised in perpetrating the fraudulent transactions and deductions.

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“Further investigations also showed that without the authorisation or knowledge of the management of the bank, the defendants managed a fictitious fixed deposit account with interest accruing to it,” an EFCC statement read in part.

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Elumelu says strong insurance sector foundation for strong Nigeria

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Tony Elumelu, CON, Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), giving a keynote address at the recent 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) conference, underlined the importance of a vibrant, well capitalised and deep insurance sector to Nigeria’s economy.

“Not least in these testing times, our people need financial security, secure savings and protection against uncertainty. Our industry needs to offer simple, smart products, that give value and deliver. We need an industry that is professional and can catalyse investment in key sectors such as power, infrastructure and housing”.

Elumelu congratulated the NCRIB on its anniversary and the role it has played, joining other prominent guests including Commissioner for Insurance and the President of NCRIB. But he stated there was no room for complacency, with the sector needing to regain trust, stamp down on malpractice and fundamentally evolve its customer proposition to deepen the insurance penetration.

He emphasised the commitment of Heirs Holdings to the insurance industry.

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He said: “Our two insurance companies, Heirs Life Assurance and Heirs Insurance Limited, are both leading democratisation of access to insurance – which is a tool for financial inclusion, employment creation, poverty eradication and female advancement. In a country of two hundred million, we can, should and must be more relevant than we are today. I am an optimist, not a pessimist. I know that times are tough, but together we can, and we will transform our industry, create value, and provide solutions that demonstrate the value of insurance to our people.”

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Reiterating Elumelu’s stance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, Commission for Insurance called for more collaboration and effort in enabling access to insurance, stating that the industry could do more in this prospect.

He said: “It is a fundamental truth that the insurance sector exists for other sectors to thrive. A lot has been achieved, but there is still more work to be done. Until insurance becomes the oxygen that homes and other industries breathe, and a subject that is known to everyone, we have not arrived”.

The President, NCRIB, Barrister Rotimi Edu, appreciated Elumelu for delivering the keynote speech at the event, while making a commitment on behalf of the Council to further deepen insurance penetration in Nigeria.

He said: “The Council is already creating avenues through strategic engagements with notable governmental and non-governmental institutions to deepen the industry in the country”.

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Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life are lead sponsors of the NCRIB 60th Anniversary, alongside investment group United Capital Plc and healthcare management company, Avon HMO, all investee companies of Heirs Holdings, a pan-African investment group, with a portfolio spread across 24 African countries and four continents.

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150 Years: FrieslandCampina Pays Tribute to Member Dairy Farmers

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To mark the end of its 150th anniversary year, FrieslandCampina presents its new short film, A New Day. The film pays tribute to the many generations of dairy farmers who have made FrieslandCampina what it is today; a dynamic, forward-looking dairy cooperative and a global company.

‘A New Day’ tells the story of the next generation of farmers, focused on the future of dairy farming with lots of passion and determination, while adapting to the rapidly changing world.

According to Hein Schumacher, CEO FrieslandCampina: “We are very proud of our farmers and our cooperative heritage. For over 150 years, our member farmers have always managed to adapt to what the market and society demand from them. By actively responding to evolving needs and constantly innovating, they have developed themselves into very innovative farmers.

“I have great admiration for the next generation of farmers, especially in these tense and uncertain times. They are building the future of sustainable dairy farming, with the same commitment and unwavering spirit as the many generations before them. This film is our tribute to all dairy farmers, young and old,” Schumacher said.

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Also commenting, Ben Langat, Managing Director, FrieslandCampina Sub-Saharan Africa said, “The story of our cooperative is a special one. ‘A New Day’ celebrates our farmers who are playing that critical role in bringing better nutrition to the tables of families across Sub-Saharan Africa. FrieslandCampina Sub-Saharan Africa salutes our farm heroes and remains steadfast in our commitment and support to the development and prosperity of our local dairy farmers.”

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The four-minute film tells the story of three young dairy farmers who are on a journey, sometimes literally, as they face dilemmas, make choices and emerge stronger, ready for a new day. The film shows the challenges they are facing in this rapidly changing world. ‘A New Day’ is the sequel to ‘The Story of Milk, produced in 2012, also by corporate cinema agency 1Camera.

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Watch it below.

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Asia’s richest man sees growing isolation for China

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Theheute-

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani says that China “will feel increasingly isolated” and the “foremost champion of globalization” would find it hard to bounce back from a period of economic weakness.

Speaking at a conference in Singapore on Tuesday, Adani said “increasing nationalism, supply chain risk mitigation, and technology restrictions,” as well as resistance to Beijing’s huge Belt and Road initiative, would impact China’s global role.

Asia’s richest man said that “housing and credit risks” in the world’s second largest economy were also “drawing comparisons with what happened to the Japanese economy during the ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s.”

Adani was speaking less than a month after the business mogul became the world’s third richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is the first Asian to take that spot.

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The founder of the eponymous Adani Group controls companies ranging from ports to power.

While pessimistic about China, Adani remains bullish about his own country, saying that India is “one of the few relatively bright spots from a political, geostrategic, and market perspective.”

He anticipates India to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030, with “the largest consuming middle class the world will ever see.”

Some technology firms looking to reduce their dependence on Chinese manufacturing already see India as an attractive alternative.

On Monday, Apple announced that it has started making its new iPhone 14 in India, as the technology giant looks to diversify its supply chain. While the company manufactures the bulk of its products in China, it has decided to start producing its latest devices in India much earlier than with previous generations.

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Businesses may have to move away from China not just because of its strict Covid restrictions, which have been hurting supply chains for months now, but also because of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.

The US government ordered two of America’s top chipmakers to stop selling high-performance chips to China earlier this month. And, last week, leaders of America’s biggest banks said they could exit China if it ever attacks Taiwan.

Adani also mentioned the challenges facing the United Kingdom, and countries in the European Union, because of the war in Ukraine and Brexit.

“While I expect all these economies will readjust over time — and bounce back — the friction of the bounce-back looks far harder this time,” he said.

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