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N2.05bn Bank fraud: EFCC nabs students, Bureau de Change operators [Photo]

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed the arrest of four suspects who allegedly defrauded  Union Bank of Nigeria, Plc to the tune of N2.05 billion.

The arrest was a follow-up to a report by Union Bank of Nigeria, Plc.

The commission said it has been able to recover N475.3million from the suspects who are said to be specialists in breaking into computer data of banks.

The four suspects include two students of the University of Jos (UNIJOS) – Isaiah Fridayand Azzaior Samuel and two bureau de change operators – Salihu Liman Mahmoud and Dan Asabe Ibrahim.

In a statement, the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren confirmed that the suspects invaded Union Bank’s database and manipulated it to steal N2.05billon.

The statement read in part: “The fraudsters, who specialise in breaking into the computer data base of financial institutions in order to carry out dry posting of funds, were arrested in Lagos and Jos.

“Their arrest came on the heels of a petition which the Commission received from Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Marina, Lagos sometime in January 2013, alleging that a criminal attack had been launched on its data base known as “Flexcube”, by unknown criminals.

“The criminals falsified the bank records and accounts and created unjustified huge opening balances in several accounts across the bank’s branches and subsequently transferred funds from those accounts to several accounts in other banks.

“The petition, which was signed by A.F Olufade, Head of Fraud Investigation at the bank, said cash withdrawals and electronic transfers totalling over N2.05billion was involved in the scam.”

“Investigations further revealed that Mahmoud, who is the mastermind of the fraud with others now at large, had approached Samuel if he knew anyone working with the Union Bank. Samuel gave Friday’s contact and Friday was contacted.

The commission also said it discovered that Friday, who was carrying out computer system maintenance services for one of Union Bank branches in Jos on a part-time basis, paved the way for the fraudsters to penetrate the bank’s database.

“They told him they needed access to the bank’s database in order to carry out some postings. They promised to give Friday N1, 500,000 if the deal succeeded. Friday obliged and on the day the crime was committed, Samuel disguised as a colleague of Friday who had accompanied him to work in order to gain access to the bank’s premises. They carried out the postings to six different company accounts domiciled in Union Bank’s Marina branch in Lagos.

“The accounts are: Gona Bureau De Change Limited, Jaxmine Bureau De Change Limited, Dan Kawu Bureau De Change Limited, Godswill Great Communications, ZHG Services Limited and A and B Console Limited.

“The postings were carried out and the syndicate thereafter went to the bank to draw all the funds. Friday was paid as promised and other syndicate members now at large shared the remaining balance”, Uwujaren further stated.

Hence, the EFCC said it had so far recovered N475,326,720 from the suspects, including $2,129,900 and N134,542,720.

Also, furniture worth N10 million from Salihu Liman’s one-bedroom apartment in Yaba, Lagos, four vehicles, landed properties in Kano and Kaduna and a four-bedroom duplex worth N45 million in Lagos are properties which have been recovered so far.

The commission assured that investigation into the scam is still ongoing.

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