Banks Involved in 70% Financial Crimes-EFCC Report Reveals

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Monday that banks are linked to about 70 percent of the financial crimes in Nigeria.

EFCC’s Chairman, Ola Olukayode, said this while speaking in Abuja at the 2023 Annual Retreat and General Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN).

He emphasized the alarming rise of fraudulent activities within the banking sector, presenting considerable challenges and concerns for the commission.

Represented by EFCC’s Director of Internal Audit, Idowu Apejoye, Olukayode stressed the need for collaborative action among relevant authorities and professionals, particularly audit executives, to effectively address and combat fraudulent practices within the sector.

He said, “Broadly speaking, banking fraud in Nigeria is both inside and outside-related. The Inside-related fraud comprises outright selling of customers’ deposits, authorising loan facilities, forgery, and several other kinds of unhealthy and criminal practices.

“The outsider-related ones include hacking, ATM fraud, and conspiracy, among others. And then the absurd one is when both collaborate, that is, collaboration among the bankers and the outsiders.

“That one is the one that is really absurd because when you do that, that means you are selling out the system. It is estimated that about 70 percent of financial crimes in Nigeria are traceable to the banking sector, this scenario is disturbing and unacceptable.”

Olukayode emphasized the importance of ACAEBIN conducting monthly account reconciliations in line with accounting standards to address irregularities.

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He urged the association to oversee bank financial activities, comparing actual revenue and expenses against budgeted figures and conducting regular reviews and checks, among other measures.

Prince Akamadu, Chairman of ACAEBIN, noted that banks were actively engaged in combating fraudulent activities through initiatives like the Know Your Customer mechanism.

“I will tell you something, I’m not aware of any institution or sector that has done more in the area of KYC than the banking industry. But it truly goes beyond the banks.

“And I can tell you truly again that even at the bankers’ committee level, and even at the typical details of banks in Nigeria, these are areas we are actually looking at to see where there are leakages and to begin to block them,” he stated.

Akamadu further explained that the association would work towards achieving some of the recommendations provided by the EFCC boss.

He also stated that the association was fully committed to fixing the foreign exchange challenges in Nigeria, which was one of the issues that the retreat aimed to achieve.