The increasing cases of robbery and fraud involving bank staff are alarming and eroding the trust between banks, its customers and staff. According to Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) in a report, the amount involved in the fraudulent activities increased from the N8.68 billion reported in 2016 to N12.01 billion in 2017, constituting about 38 per cent increase.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also reported a staggering rise in the reported cases of such incidences from 16,762 in the first half of the financial year of 2017 to 20,768 in the corresponding period of 2018.
The public domain is awash with reported cases of such fraudulent activities, which include fraudulent transfers/withdrawals, cash suppression, unauthorised credits and fraudulent conversion of cheques, diversion of customer deposits, diversion of bank charges, burglary and presentation of forged or stolen-cheques.
Records show that some bank staff (names withheld), aside documentary fraud, sometimes stage-manage robbery or connive with outsiders to perpetrate such act.
A seven-man syndicate arrested recently by Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) over botched transfer of N25 million from a local bank and a $220,000 from an international account confirmed to investigators that they work with bank insiders.
The members of the syndicate still under investigation. Police investigations revealed that the fraudsters scout for obituaries of well- to- do members of the public, use bank insiders to determine the deceased account balance, clone their SIM cards for online transfer. It was learnt that one of the bank insiders was arrested in Lagos while another one based in Benin is on the run after suspecting the gang has been busted and that police are on his trail.
Also recently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Benin zone, arrested a staff of a first generation bank over alleged stealing of N18.9 million from the bank. The suspect is said to be in charge of the ATM gallery keys. Unknown to him, according to the report, the CCTV footage captured him walking into the ATM gallery, using a nylon bag to cover the CCTV and disappearing with the money until he was arrested.
Sometime ago, EFCC arraigned a 36-year-old banker (names witheld) before Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on one count-charge of stealing. The anti-graft agency counsel, Mr. U.U. Buhari, said : “The defendant dishonestly converted to his use, the sum of $200,000 belonging to Insurance Brokers of Nigeria (IBN), using his position as a bank’s relationship officer to the complainant.”
A customer care officer in a bank connived with robbers to steal N7million from an Automated Teller Machine in the bank. When he was arrested, he confessed to mobilising the criminals, “Thinking it was something I could pull off easily,” he said. “I simply told them how they should enter the bank, where to find the mobile policeman guarding the bank and how to disconnect the CCTV cameras.”
In another case, where armed robbers blasted the security door with dynamite and carted away over N25m and some foreign currencies, the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State at the time, Asuquo Amba, said the footage from CCTV suggested that the robbery was carried out in connivance with insiders. “What baffles me is that there was a nexus between the robbers and insiders in the banking premises. They were captured on CCTV moving in and out of the bank’s vault, stuffing money. The staff opened the vault by 3.05pm and the robbers blew up the security door at 3.12pm. This gave room to a suspicion that there was an internal collaboration in the incident,” he said.
Analysis of records of people declared wanted by EFCC at a time showed that bank staffers made the dishonourable list. One Temitayo, a bank staff was wanted in a case of conspiracy, forgery and obtaining money under false pretences to the tune of 27 million naira.
She allegedly forged a customer’s documents and fraudulently obtained a loan using the customer’s fixed deposit as collateral. Similarly, another bank staff allegedly forged Treasury Bills Certificate worth N27 million and handed them over to a customer in exchange for the sum.