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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

EFCC: Banks linked to 70% of financial crimes in Nigeria

Calls for Vigilance and Collaboration to Tackle Rampant Fraudulent Activities

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In a stark revelation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indicted banks for their involvement in nearly 70% of financial crimes across Nigeria, highlighting the urgent need for enhanced oversight and collaboration to combat fraudulent practices within the banking sector.

Speaking at the 2023 Annual Retreat and General Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria in Abuja, EFCC Chairman Ola Olukayode underscored the alarming rise of fraudulent activities within the banking industry, posing significant challenges to regulatory authorities.

Olukayode, represented by EFCC’s Director of Internal Audit, Idowu Apejoye, emphasized the multifaceted nature of banking fraud, encompassing internal malpractices such as deposit misappropriation, loan authorization irregularities, and forgery, as well as external threats like hacking and ATM fraud.

The chairman expressed deep concern over collusion between banking insiders and external actors, describing it as a betrayal of the financial system’s integrity. He stressed that such collaboration undermines trust and accountability, jeopardizing the stability of Nigeria’s financial ecosystem.

To address these systemic vulnerabilities, Olukayode called for rigorous monthly account reconciliation and adherence to accounting standards by the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN). He urged the association to intensify financial monitoring, conduct regular reviews, and implement stringent checks to curb fraudulent practices effectively.

In response, ACAEBIN Chairman Prince Akamadu affirmed the association’s commitment to implementing the EFCC’s recommendations and addressing the root causes of financial irregularities. He underscored the retreat’s focus on tackling foreign exchange challenges, acknowledging the pivotal role of banks in sanitizing the financial landscape.

Reflecting on the industry’s efforts to bolster security measures, Akamadu highlighted the banking sector’s proactive stance on Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols, underscoring ongoing initiatives to identify and mitigate potential loopholes.

Assuring the EFCC of the banking industry’s unwavering dedication to combating financial crimes, Akamadu pledged to drive positive outcomes through collaborative endeavors and proactive risk management strategies, signaling a collective commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s financial integrity.

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