Fidelity Bank Staffs Clones Over 22 ATM Cards, Stole N874 million
Lagos High Court heard how Fidelity Bank Plc staff members accessed the bank’s database, cloned over 22 ATM cards, and stole N874 million from five corporate accounts registered in the bank within three days, a report revealed.
According to the report, Onovae Oghenovo, the Head of Investigations Group of Fidelity’s Internal Audit and Investigations Division, told the court that the five corporate accounts from which the alleged sum was withdrawn belonged to the American International Insurance Company Limited (AIICO), Interswitch, OVH Energy Marketing Ltd, and Fidelity bank sinking fund account and FSL Securities LTD.
Abisola Ahmed, Olusegun Babasola, Uchechukwu Uma, and Jude Alphaeus, the Head of Internal Audit and Investigations Division of Fidelity, testified before the court that four of their employees, identified as Abisola Ahmed, Olusegun Babasola, Uchechukwu Uma, and Jude Alphaeus, fraudulently primed and linked ATM debit cards to corporate accounts and then made various ATM cash withdrawals, POS purchases, Bill payments and fund transfer.
The Moment Nigeria exclusively exposes that Fidelity Bank Plc, a Nigerian tier-2 lender helmed by Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe as its chief executive officer, is once again in the spotlight for the wrong reason.
A report made available to Trait News shown that, the four employees of the Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe-led Fidelity Bank Plc, a tier-2 lender in Nigeria, who are currently facing criminal trial, were docked and charged alongside one Adeowale Jeff Johnson (a businessman) on a 2-count charge of conspiracy and stealing by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s anti-graft agency.
Trait News learnt that witness while led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Nnaemeka Omewa, however, said that between July 12, 2019 and July 15, 2019, the sum of N874m was fraudulently withdrawn from five accounts in Fidelity bank.
The EFCC prosecutor told the court that the offence committed by the defendants contravened Sections 278(1)(2) & 285(1) and 9(b) of the Criminal law of Lagos State, 2011.
While testifying, the banker said,
“I KNOW THE FIRST, SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH DEFENDANTS IN THE DOCK, EXCEPT THE FIFTH ONE (REFERRING TO JOHNSON). THE FOUR DEFENDANTS WERE EMPLOYEES OF FIDELITY BANK AND THEY ALL WORKED IN THE VIRTUAL BANKING UNIT.
“SOMETIME IN JULY, 2019, BABASOLA, WHO WAS IN THE VIRTUAL DEPARTMENT, FRAUDULENTLY ACCESSED THE VICTIMS ACCOUNTS. WHEN HE WAS QUERIED, HE CLAIMED HE WASN’T THE ONE THAT VIEWED THE ACCOUNTS. BUT WE LATER FOUND OUT THAT HIS PRIVATE TOKEN WAS OPENED ON HIS MOBILE PHONE.
“MORE SO VIRTUAL BANK DOESN’T INTERFACE DIRECTLY WITH CUSTOMERS BUT RELY ON REQUEST FROM THE CALL CENTER UNIT.
“BABASOLA VIEWED THE ACCOUNTS FROM HIS MOBILE PHONE AND SOFT TOKENS WERE GENERATED TO ACCESS THE 5 VICTIMS ACCOUNTS.
“ON JULY 11, AHMED ALSO VIEWED SAME FIVE ACCOUNTS. AND UPON QUERY, HE CLAIMED HE RESPONDED TO A CUSTOMER’S REQUEST. BUT UPON ENQUIRY, WE DISCOVERED THAT NO REQUEST WAS MADE.
“ALSO UCHECHUKWU VIEWED THE ACCOUNT OF FSL SECURITIES LTD BETWEEN 10TH AND 13TH OF JULY. MY LORD, PRIOR TO JULY 11, NONE OF THE VICTIMS’ ACCOUNTS HAD ATM CARDS. AGAIN, BETWEEN 12TH TILL 15TH OF JULY, UCHECHUKWU AND JUDE’S PROFILE WERE ALSO USED TO ENHANCE WITHDRAWAL LIMITS OF ATM CARDS. FOR EXAMPLE, AN ATM CARD LIMIT THAT HAS N150, 000 WAS ENHANCED TO N150MILLION”.
When asked if he could recall the amounts that were withdrawn from each victim’s account, the witness said:
“THE SUM OF N1.7M WAS WITHDRAWN VIA CASH FROM AIICO AND N20 MILLION WAS TRANSFERED TO 3RD PARTIES. MAKING IT AN ESTIMATED N22M WITHDRAWAL.
“THE SUM OF N115, 260, 000 WAS WITHDRAWN FROM INTER SWITCH ACCOUNT. THE CASH SUM OF N61.8M WAS WITHDRAWN FROM OVH ENERGY ACCOUNTS, WHILE N500, 000 WAS TRANSFERED TO THIRD PARTY. ALSO, N9M WAS TRANSFERRED FROM FIDELITY BANK SINKING FUND ACCOUNT. WHILE N6, 257, 000 WAS WITHDRAWN FROM FSL SECURITIES ACCOUNT AND USED TO PAY BILLS, N281M WAS WITHDRAWN USING ATM AND N44M WITHDRAWN USING POS.
“WHEN THE BANK FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS THEFT, WE QUICKLY REPORTED TO THE EFCC.”
At this time, the EFCC Counsel presented the petition before the commission, dated July 16, as evidence.
This online platform understands that the case was, however, postponed until November 12 in order to continue the trial.
Meanwhile, iReportnews recalls that Fidelity Bank was recently in the news after EFCC operatives detained a bank official for a N200 million scam.
Four workers of Fidelity Bank, together with eleven accomplices, are currently on trial in a Lagos High Court for allegedly defrauding the bank of N200 million.
In the suit number FHC/10/10089c/19 the four Fidelity Bank staff identified as: Olusegun Babasola, Abisola Ahmed, Uchechukwu Uma and Jude Alphaeus, were charged alongside eleven others: Adeowale Jeff Johnson, Ogubiukwu Peace Chinenye, Olanrewaju Joseph, Alabi Adeola Abiodun, Umaru Hamsu, Olagbaju Oladayo, Afeez Mudashiru, Ayokanmi Oshagbami, Anyor Isaac Ushang, Bashir Olanrewaju and Lanre Yusuf