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First Bank bags 2 CBN awards on fraud prevention



…As EFCC grills agency’s chief, others over N279m scam ***

The First Bank of Nigeria has been awarded the Best FraudDesk and most Cooperative FraudDesk in the industry by the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) at its 2017 Annual Dinner and Awards.

The bank said this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Lagos by Folake Ani-Mumuney, its Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications.

It said that these awards were clear recognition of the efforts of the bank in combating electronic fraud as well as curbing cyber-crime.

According to the statement, the bank has frustrated all forms of criminal activities targeted at its valued customers in every nook and cranny of the country.

It said that the winner of the respective categories was generated through an industry-wide online survey carried out by the Central Bank of Nigeria in partnership with NIBBS.

“The awards prove that investment in security of customer’s funds does have its rewards,” it said.

The bank said that its management had embarked on re-engineering programme of its technology, operations and up-scaling the skill of its personnel following the appointment of its Managing Director, Dr Adesola Adeduntan.

It said that the key assets in the fight against cybercrime and electronic fraud were FirstBank’s world class Security Operations Center (SOC) and FraudDesk which had capability to track and monitor customers’ transactions.

According to the statement, FirstBank SOC facility, with advanced Security technology, runs a 24/7 operation with highly-skilled staff and state-of-the-art security tools and appliances.

“Given the growing adoption of alternative channels by the banking community in Nigeria and the increasing threat posed by cyber criminals on the Nigerian Payment System, protecting our customers is a challenge the banking industry will continue to face.”

It said the bank would continue to champion the industry’s collaborative spirit to ensure security and protection of evolving electronic payment climate in the financial sector.

In the meantime, detectives have uncovered the alleged award of N279,675,796 phony contracts at a Federal Government agency.

Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) Director-General Moses Oluwatoyin Beckley and seven others have been interrogated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The others are the Deputy Director (Account), Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim; Mary Abioye (Central Processing Officer); Ajayi F. Alaba (Asst. Director, Head, Internal Auditor); Jonathan Mbachi (Asst. Chief Executive Officer Accounts); Banwo Oladele Oluwale (Chief Accountant); Joseph Awe Olufemi (Head, Salary); and David Okon Williams (Chief Executive Officer, Accounts).

Also interrogated is the owner of Full Range Bureau de Change into whose account N130m was allegedly paid.

Detectives have recovered about N135, 567,047 out of the N279.6million.

A source, who was privy to the investigation, gave the details of how the fraud was allegedly perpetrated by a top official and the staff of the accounts department.

The source said: “In the course of investigation, various sums of money meant for capital projects were observed to have been diverted by various staff of the Accounts Department as well as the Director General of the agency, using their personal accounts or their private companies.

“They hid under the guise of paying for projects/contracts that were either non-existing or never executed.  About N135, 567,047 has been recovered and registered as exhibit.


“From the investigation carried out so far, a case of conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of public funds can be established against the suspects,” the source said, adding:

“We are going to arraign all the suspects very soon after the completion of our investigation.”

Another source said the EFCC acted on an anonymous petition which revealed the rot in the agency. The petitioners alleged conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of public funds.

Said the source: “The petitioner alleged that the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA), Mr. Moses Oluwatoyin Beckley conspired with the Deputy Director, Account Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim  and some other staff of the Account Department and diverted large amount of money meant for the agency’s 2016 budget for their personal use.

“Upon receipt of the petition, the Director of Administration and Finance of the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency was invited and interviewed. The Chairman of the staff union of the agency was also invited and interviewed.

“Staff of the account department were interviewed and their various statements recorded under word of caution.

“Voluntary statements of some staff of the agencies involved for 2015 and 2016 were obtained from various banks and analysed.

“Information on various companies linked to the suspects were also obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

“A bureau de change owner, Full Range Bureau de Change whose account the sum of N130m was paid into was interrogated.”

The Director General of the agency, Mr. Moses Oluwatoyin Beckley, was interrogated and released on bail.

Additional report from Nation

Banking & Finance

Senate Passes Bill To Make CBN Advances To FG 15%



Airfare hike: Senate demands urgent rehabilitation of federal roads

…Extends implementation of N819bn supplementary to Dec. 31***

Senate has passed a bill seeking to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act to increase its advances to the Federal Government from five percent to a maximum of 15 percent.

The passage of the bill followed its presentation and consideration at plenary on Saturday.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Gobir Abdullahi (APC- Sokoto).

Section 38 of the CBN Act stated that “Notwithstanding the provisions of section 34(d) of the act, the bank may grant temporary advances to the Federal Government in respect of temporary deficiency of budget revenue at such rate as the bank may determine.

$22.7bn: Senate announces new financier of Kaduna-Kano rail modernisation

Senate- the Red Chamber

It further stated that the total amount of such advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed five percent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government.

Abdullahi, however, in his lead debate said: “Mr. President, my respected colleagues, permit me to lead the debate on this bill, which seeks to amend the CBN Act to increase the total CBN advances to Federal Government from five percent to a maximum of fifteen percent.”

According to him, the bill has been read for the first time on May 24.

He said the essence of the bill was to enable the federal government to meet its immediate and future obligation in the approval of the ways and means by the National Assembly and advances to the federal government by the CBN.

“This amendment is very consequential and it needs the support of us all, it is to enable the federal government to embark on very important projects that will inflate and rejig the economy.

“I, therefore, urge you all to support the passage of this bill,” he said.

In another development, the Senate at an emergency session on Saturday extended the implementation period for the N819 billion 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act from June 30 to Dec. 31.

This followed the consideration and expeditious passage of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill.

Senate Leader Ibrahim Gobir had earlier during plenary, led the debate on the general principles of the bill.

Gobir said that the bill was read for the first time on May 24.

He said that the bill sought to amend the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act to extend the implementation from June 30 to Dec. 31.

“You would recall that the National Assembly extended the implementation of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act from Dec. 31, 2022, to March 31, 2023.

“This was to allow full implementation of the budget, especially in light of the 2002 supplementary budget approved in Dec. 2022

“The extension had allowed MDAs to utilise a large proportion of funds released to them.

“However, a significant amount of funds remain with MDAs and will require a further extension to be fully expended.

“Given the critical importance of some key projects nearing completion, requesting a further extension of the expiration clause in the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill is expedient.

“This is to avoid compounding the problem of abandoned projects given that some of the projects were not provided for in the 2023 Budget.”

In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said that the supplementary budget approved for the executive by both chambers in December has not been implemented due to lack of releases.

”The supplementary budget meant for fixing of critical infrastructure destroyed by flood across the country last year has not been implemented due to non-releases of appropriated funds.

“As explained and requested by the executive, the duration of implementation will now be extended from June 30 earlier fixed, to Dec. 31, 2023”.

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Banking & Finance

CBN Increases Baseline Lending Rate To 18.5%



Economists say MPR retention at 11.5% anticipated, as IMF slides global GDP to 4.4%

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has increased the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 18.5 percent from 18 percent.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, after presenting the communique from the 291st meeting of the MPC.

The MPR is the baseline interest rate in an economy, on which every other interest rate used within an economy is built.

The committee had raised the MPR from 17.5 percent to 18 percent at its last meeting in March.

According to Emefiele, the 11 MPC members at the meeting were faced with the dilemma of whether to hold or to hike the policy rates to offset the moderate increase in headline inflation.

“Considering the option of a hold-policy, the committee reiterated the empirical counterfactual evidence and believe that the rate hikes have indeed helped moderate continued rising inflation.

“In addition, the evidence revealed that the rate hikes also helped moderate growth in new credit and reduced a pent-up aggregate demand, which had continued to heighten inflationary pressure.

“Members were unanimous in their conclusion that the current policy stance is, indeed, impacting targeted parameters and yielding the expected outcome, albeit, somewhat slowly, ” he said.

Emefiele said that the MPC members were also convinced that the current uptrend in inflationary pressure was driven by a combination of both demand and supply side issues.

“The MPC observed the continued risk to price development driven primarily by the expectation of rising energy and food prices, unabating security challenges in food-producing areas, as well as persisting exchange rate pressure.

“The committee, thus, felt it expedient to continue to address the demand side issues falling within the ambit of its policy tools,” he said.

According to him, the balance of argument thus leaned significantly in favour of a further hike, albeit less aggressively, considering the adverse impact of rising inflation on real income.

“The MPC considered that the current policy stance is moderating the rising inflation, and sustaining the stance would consolidate the gains made so far,” he said.

The CBN governor said that tightening would also support efforts toward moderating the demand-pool inflation as the cost of funds increased.

“Members, therefore, resolved by unanimous decision to raise the MPR moderately.

“10 members voted to raise the MPR by 50 basis points and one member, by 25 basis. All members voted to hold all other parameters constant.

“Members voted to raise MPR to 18.5 percent; to retain the Asymmetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR, retain the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of 32.5 percent, and retain the Liquidity Ratio of 30 percent,” he said.

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Banking & Finance

Prof. Moghalu To Deliver Afreximbank 30th Anniversary Founders Day Lecture



Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, the President of the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation (IGET) will deliver the 30th Anniversary Founders Day Lecture of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

The event is billed to hold at the bank’s Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on May 8.

Moghalu was also a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),

The IGET quoted Moghalu in a statement on Tuesday, as saying, “I am honored to have been requested to deliver the Afreximbank’s 30th Anniversary Founders Day Lecture.

Afeximbank announces registration for 2023 certificate of trade finance in Africa

“As Africa’s trade finance bank and one of the continent’s most strategically important financial institutions, Afreximbank has a central role to play in developing Africa into one of the world’s prosperity zones.”

IGET said that Moghalu’s Afreximbank lecture would focus on “Afreximbank in the next 30 years”.

It added that the lecture would also provide new perspectives on what the bank’s priorities could be over the next 30 years in the context of continental strategies such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Similarly, IGET quoted the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, as saying that Afreximbank Founders’ Day Celebration is commemorated annually to celebrate the visionary leaders who conceived the idea and contributed to the establishment of the Bank.

“It is also a platform to take stock of the contributions of the Bank towards Africa’s trade development aspirations and reflect on its future.

“The Founders’ Day, celebrated on May 8 each year, brings together over 800 diverse participants comprising all staff of Afreximbank and their spouses, African and selected non-African Ambassadors and diplomats, representatives of international organisations resident in Cairo, as well as the Bank’s clients and officials of the Egyptian Government,” Oramah quoted as saying.

IGET said that Afreximbank was established in 1993 by African Governments, African private and institutional investors as well as non-African financial institutions to provide financial solutions and advisory services for the expansion and diversification of intra-and extra-African trade.

It added that the bank has total assets of $12 billion. It was recently upgraded to “BBB” from “BBB-” by the rating agency Fitch.

The IGET is an independent, non-partisan think tank established to help African countries create inclusive growth and prosperity through effective governance, knowledge-based public policy, and economic strategy.

IGET delivers value through accessible policy briefs, executive education for public and private sector leaders, and consultancies.

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