70% financial crimes traceable to banks – EFCC chair

Executive Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) Ola Olukoyede has called on audit executives in banks across the country to be more vigilant and assertive in tackling financial crimes in the banking sector.

A statement by the head media of the agency quoted Olukoyede as saying this Monday in Abuja at the 2024 annual retreat of the Association of the Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBI).

The statement said the EFCC’s boss frowned on what it called “the raft of fraudulent activities associated with the local banking industry” and charged bank auditors to do more in sanitizing and strengthening the financial sector and growing the economy.

Speaking through the director, internal audit of the EFCC, Idowu Oluwole-Apejoye, he further noted that banking fraud across the country often has either insider or outsider enablers.

He said: “Broadly speaking, banking fraud in Nigeria is both insider and outsider-related. The insider-related fraud comprises outright stealing of customers’ deposits’ authorized loan facilities, forgery and several other kinds of unhealthy and criminal practices. The outsider-related ones include hacking, Automated Teller Machine, ATM, fraud, conspiracy among others. And the absurd one is when there is collaboration between the both of them.” 

The EFCC boss also pointed out that “an estimated 70 per cent of financial crimes in Nigeria is traceable to the banking sector and called for concerted efforts by relevant authorities and professionals, especially bank auditors to prevent and detect fraudulent practices in the industry.”

Olukoyede called for a fusion of preventive and detective measures for effective outcomes and cost management of bank frauds.

He said bank auditors were crucial in the fight against economic and financial crimes “as gatekeepers on responsible financial conduct, adherence to regulations, and effective functioning of the financial services industry.”

While seeking for further collaboration from bank auditors, he said:  “As you retreat, use this opportunity to review developments in the financial sector of our nation and offer sound recommendations to the EFCC on how the rising cases of financial crimes can be curbed in our banks.

“I also call on you to always approach the Commission on any issue that you consider germane in addressing corruption not only in the financial sector but in all other areas of life in our dear country.”  

 The EFCC’s charge sparked a plethora of questions and enquiries on the operational works of the EFCC, with many of the Audit Executives relaying their experiences about fraud investigations by the Commission. 

Apejoye rose to the occasion and called for better engagement of the professionals with the Commission. 

 “We should all be ready to play our parts in tackling the monster of corruption in the banking sector. Collaboration and cooperation with the EFCC will boost all efforts at breaking the fang of fraudulent practices in the sector”, she said.

Ooni of Ife lauds EFCC on illegal forex operators 

In a related development, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has commended the EFCC on its focused sting operations against currency speculators and street hawkers operating illegal foreign exchange markets across the country.

The monarch gave the commendation while receiving the Acting Ibadan Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Assistant Commander of the EFCC, ACE I Halima Mustafa Rufa’u, during a courtesy visit in his palace, Ile-Ife, Osun state.

He said: “The EFCC promptly swung into action and for the mere fact that the EFCC acted, the dollar came down in favour of the naira. This shows that the situation is artificial and deliberate but can be controlled if the EFCC, in collaboration with other government agencies consistently face and tackle the situation.”

“As the most vibrant anti-graft agency in the country, under the leadership of the Executive Chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede must not be discouraged   from working towards sanitizing the economic space in the country,” the royal father also said.

While appreciating Rufa’u for the visit, he urged Nigerians to stop amassing illegal and unexplainable wealth, and focus on growing and developing the country’s economy.

Responding, ACE Rufa’u thanked the monarch for receiving her despite his busy schedule.

She decried the level of damage being done by illegal miners and the sabotage of solid mineral resources meant for the economic growth of Osun state, and therefore called for effective collaboration in tackling the miners in the state.

She also sought the monarch’s support and collaboration in tackling the scourge of cybercrimes among students of tertiary institutions in the state and Nigeria at large.

About Chizoba Ogbeche, Abuja and Lateef Dada, Osogbo

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