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Sterling Bank Staff Involved In N1.7B Fraud Scandal

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Sterling Bank - Investors King

Sterling Bank Plc is currently enmeshed in a N1.7 billion fraud scandal. The fraud is said to have rattled the lender’s financial position and it has landed one of the bank’s staff and a businessman in court.

The case which is currently before an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, details how an official of the bank, Ifeanyichukwu Shallom Isituah and a businessman, Ighodaro Austin Osaretin allegedly stole the sum of N1,790,558,000. 00 belonging to a customer of the bank, Wells Procurement Limited with account number – 0016798848.

In the charge sheet seen by the media, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adamu Mohammed, told the court that the agency received a petition with reference No: SB/IAG/12/EFCC/011 duly signed by the Head IT and Head Intelligence and Investigation on behalf of Sterling Bank.

Mohammed, who works with the Team C Cybercrime department of the EFCC, while testifying on oath, said that the petitioner alleged that a customer’s bank account was profiled via internet banking and the sum of N1,790,558,0 00.00 was transferred to various individuals and companies.

While led in evidence by the prosecutor, N. M. Anana, the witness testified that preliminary investigation by the bank revealed that the second defendant’s profile, Isituah, a female, was used to initiate the account on internet banking and more than 24 accounts got the same amount of money.

Investigation letters were sent to FCMB, Zenith, First Bank, Fidelity Bank and Access Bank. Responses were received from the banks and the statement of accounts were analysed. The analysis revealed that most of the company’s accounts the money was transferred to were BDC (Bureau de Change).

“Some of them reside in Abuja, Kaduna and there was one address that we suspected to live in Lagos, Ndifreke Roberts. But all efforts to trace the address of Kaduna, Lagos and Abuja suspects did not yield any information to help the commission get them.

“On March 10, 2020, the DSS handed over the two defendants to the commission under the instruction of the AGF (attorney-general of the Federation) for further investigation. The two defendants’ statements were voluntarily taken under caution.

“The first defendant revealed that he has a company called Universal Agriculture Empowerment Initiative as an NGO which received the sum of N60 million as part of the transfer from that Sterling Bank customer’s account. He further stated that the money was received from one Osaretin (second defendant) and transferred to his account as a donation.

“That he introduced one of his friends who is the owner of Villavon International School who also received N100m from the said fraud.

“He further stated that he called a BDC in the name of Damo who owns Damoo Ten Ventures. Damo was invited to the commission and he volunteered a statement that the first defendant contacted him and he transferred N60 million to various accounts and further instructed the owner of the International School to transfer N95 million.

“The dollar equivalent was received in cash by the first defendant. The first defendant further stated that the money was used at IDP camps around the country. I cannot remember the specific location but he mentioned a place in Borno and Adamawa”., the witness said.

However, during cross-examination by the defence lawyer, A. Okenile, the EFCC operative said that Sterling Bank gave the commission the information that the second defendant profiled the account for the alleged fraud.

When asked what links the second defendant to the alleged fraud, Mohammed said, “The offence was committed at Sterling Bank and it was reported. The offence took place during a public holiday and the bank realized it on December 28. The accounts of the customer we are talking about have never been profiled for internet banking. So we had to understand how it was transferred, which was through internet banking.

“The bank said the account doesn’t have internet banking access and it was a staff that did it and the second defendant’s profile was used to connect the account to internet banking. Without that profiling, money cannot be transferred from that account.

“Even when the bank tried to contact her, she ran away. She was nowhere to be found. Not until the Department of State Services (DSS) traced, arrested her and handed her over to the commission”.

The matter was further adjourned till October 19 2021.

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Enriches Customers, Holds Second Draw of GAIM 5 Promo

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Fidelity Bank

Leading African financial institution, Fidelity Bank PLC, has announced the second set of millionaires in its Get Alert in Millions Season 5 promo (GAIM 5) which held recently in Victoria Island, Lagos.  

The event was witnessed by representatives of regulatory organisations which include: Ms Oyinkan Kusamotu, Senior Legal Officer, Lagos State Lotteries & Gaming Authority; Mr Tanko Mohammed, Head, Monitoring & Enforcement, Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority; Mrs Susie Onwuka, Head, Lagos Office, Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and Ms Chioma Amanoh, Lagos Office, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).

Since the commencement of the fifth season of the promo in November 2021, the bank has enriched over 460 customers with various cash prizes. So far, 10 lucky customers have been rewarded with a million naira each. This month, Fidelity Bank has continued its tradition of rewarding loyal customers which has seen Ajoma Rachel, Stanley Sunday, Musbahu Kabiru, Usman Abdulkadir, John Uchechukwu, Oluwatayo Oladipupo, Esther Eloho, Sophia Sefera, Amarachi Sarah Anyacho, and Obi Chinelo emerge as the next set of millionaires in the promo.

Commenting on the event, Dr. Ken Okpara, Executive Director overseeing the Bank’s Lagos and Southwest Directorate, stated that, “As a bank that places our customers at the centre of everything we do, we are always looking for opportunities to help our customers grow. Two months ago, we kicked off the GAIM 5 promo to reward our customers and demonstrate our commitment to improving their lives and wellbeing. Today, we are excited at how happy we have made some of our most loyal customers. We remain committed to providing rewarding experiences and best-in-class services for our clients.”

Also speaking at the event, the Divisional Head, Product Development, Osita Ede stated that: We have earmarked the sum of N125million for total cash rewards this season which we would be giving out in weekly, monthly and grand draws till the campaign ends in July 2022. We encourage our customers to save up to increase their chance of winning and those yet to open an account to do so today. At the end of the campaign season, we want to celebrate customers who make savings second nature.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria, with about 6million customers who are serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank is known for exceptional customer service and digital innovation.

L-R: Tanko Mohammed, Head, Monitoring & Enforcement, Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority; Osita Ede, Head, Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc; Cynthia Ogbonna, Team Lead, Brand Management, Fidelity Bank Plc; Meksley Nwagboh, Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc; and Susie Onwuka, Head, Lagos Office, Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC); at the second month draw of the Get Alert in Millions Season 5 (GAIM 5) Savings Promo held in Lagos on Thursday

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Banking Sector

Parallex Bank Debuts As Newest Commercial Bank In Nigeria

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Parallex Bank

Parallex Bank, a licenced Microfinance Bank, has successfully transited to a commercial bank after 14 years of operations.

According to the bank’s chairman, Dr. Adeola Phillips, the bank is delving into the commercial banking space, to drive consumer-centric innovation that will propel the banking industry to greater heights.

The bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Olufemi Bakre, who spoke during the launch of the bank’s commercial operations, affirmed that the bank’s promise to its customers is to be an enabler of limitless banking. According to him, the vision of the bank is to be the preferred financial solution provider redefining customer experience through innovation.

The bank revealed its plan to disrupt the market and delight customers with very attractive offers. It noted that most transactions on Parallex mobile app are free but beyond that, customers will have the freedom to do much more with the app.

Parallex bank converted from Parallex Microfinance Bank (a National Microfinance Bank incorporated in 2008 as a Unit MFB) to a commercial bank duly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to carry out commercial banking services. This is a first-of-its-kind achievement in the Nigerian banking space.

The bank noted that it is “poised to be the preferred financial solutions provider redefining customer experience through digital innovations.

“This we will achieve by leveraging the best talents and technology to deliver unparalleled value to our stakeholders. With a strong ecosystem anchored around the customer, we offer a superior product portfolio that is customer-focused and innovative, yet simple”.

With a vision to leverage the best talent and technology to deliver unparalleled value to all its stakeholders, the bank noted that it is open to working with various stake holders to amplify its impact and capability.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Rewards Customers in Transact and Win Promo

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First Bank Of Nigeria

Getting rewarded for spending money is a dream that is probably going to remain exciting for many people, but not for the Firstmonie Wallet users. In a two month Transact and Win campaign that started on November 22, 2021, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is rewarding several customers for carrying out transactions on its Firstmonie Wallet application. 

The e-wallet is useful for conveniently paying utility bills, purchasing airtime and data, transferring and receiving money, and many other digital transactions. Just for using the mobile-friendly wallet app, Customers got rewarded with mouth-watering prizes both in cash and kind. The number of transactions done on the app determines the price a user could win.

100 customers who had done 1-15 transactions through Firstmonie Wallet within the month won N10,000 cash price; 53 25kg bags of rice and 50 units of standing fans were also won by customers who carried out 16 – 30 transactions with the Firstmonie Wallet; 2 units of power generating sets, 1 unit of Air Conditioning systems and 1 unit LED Televisions went to customers who carried 31 – 50 transactions; while 2 units of iPhone 12 were won by customers who had carried out over 50 transactions on the app within the month.

Victor Nnanna Onyedikachi, a student of the University of Abuja was one of the winners of the iPhone 12, and while receiving his gift, he admitted that he did not expect to win the prize.  “I used the Firstmonie Wallet App, and just like that, I was told that I had qualified. I did not believe it until I saw it myself. I am truly grateful to FirstBank” he said.

Other winners also expressed their pleasure at being rewarded for using a completely user-friendly app. “There is no issue of service error when using it for any transaction. The service is seamless and the app is easy to use” one of them said.

The Group Executive, e-Business & Retail products, Mr Chuma Ezirim had noted that the promo was targeted at appreciating customers for their patronage; and in line with the Bank’s December-is-a-Vybe campaign. “This promo is hinged on the need to appreciate our customers for their patronage, especially as we have had an increased engagement and usages of the various services offered by our mobile-friendly wallet product,” Ezirim said when the promo was being launched.

Interestingly, the promo also includes new customers and users of the app. By simply downloading the mobile app from the play store, or using the *894# USSD string to sign up, anyone can qualify for the promo. The promo runs till January 22, 2022, so what are you waiting for as you could be the next winner of any of these fantastic prizes.

As the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has remained at the forefront of promoting digital payment in the country, and the Firstmonie Wallet is one of the channels for digital transactions.

Little wonder FirstBank was named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International.  FirstBank also bagged the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years.

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