CBN Reads Riot Act to Banks on Fraud Reporting

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By Nume Ekeghe

The Director, Payment System Management Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Sam Okojere, has urged banks to enhance their reporting on fraud related cases in accordance to the CBN’s directive.

According to him, failure to do so would no longer be condoned.

Okojere, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), said this at the annual dinner of the group in Lagos at the weekend.

Okojere, who recently emerged the new chairman of the forum said he plans to sustain and enhance the progresses achieved over the past years.

He also said the forum was consulted by the African Union in the establishment of an African Electronic Fraud Forum (AeFF) to further fight electronic fraud across the continent.

He added: “Consequently, banks must generate fraud data by reporting incidents, analyse these data and handle it in such a way that the information generated will help in understanding and addressing customer needs.

“A system where participants fail to report fraud as captured by the relevant CBN directive will no longer be condoned.

“We must also pay attention to risk management and embark on aggressive fraud awareness campaigns in the days ahead in order to boost customers’ confidence.”

He added: “As a nation, we are under siege from cybercriminals who are leveraging the power of the internet to commit fraud and crime on an unprecedented scale, costing our economy millions if not billions each year.

“It has thus become necessary to review and strengthen the existing rules, and enact new regulations to stem these problems. In addition, banks must begin to evolve with the speed of Financial Technology (FINTECH) players, who are quick at developing financial solutions that are driving the financial sector.

“Taming fraud will continue to be a focus for the forum, as we know the impact fraud has in diminishing trust which is an essential ingredient in building an internationally recognised and nationally utilised payments system.”

Speaking further on the African collaboration and the establishment of a continental body to fight electronic fraud, he said: “The steering committee of your forum met in October and one of the important discussions was the Establishment of an Africa new liaison.

“The forum was invited to make presentation to the Africa Union (AU) on prospects of establishing an AeFF and this proposal was well received. I will also agree that this idea is coming at a good time, as it was recently revealed that a new fraud scheme termed ‘ATM Cash out’ had emerged where fraudsters insert a malware to corrupt ATM systems and illegally authorises withdrawals that often run into losses of millions of dollars.”

He acknowledged efforts of his predecessor who is also a Director at the CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun in driving the association since 2011. “There is no doubt that the forum recorded great achievements during your reign and I also intend to build on these successes,” he said.

FG Urged to Collaborate with Global Bodies to Enhance Tax Collection

Omolabake Fasogbon

The federal government has been advised to seek global intervention to improve Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) level status.

Experts gave the advice at the recently held Nigerian anti-fraud conference, organised by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner (ACFE), Lagos Chapter.

The experts noted that combined efforts of tax authorities, anti- graft agencies and other relevant institutions at the international level would help limit the incidences of tax fraud which, according to them, was the major cause of the country’s poor tax rating.

Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio has continued to hover around six per cent, making it one of the poorest in the world.

In his address, Partner and West Africa Tax Leader at Delloite, Yomi Olugbenro, noted that Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio has remained so unattractive as a result of improper handling of fraudulent tax practices.

He listed such malpractices to include false deductions; claiming personal expenses as business expenses; using a false social security number as well as not reporting income.

He suggested the enactment laws that would be in tandem with emerging realities as well as periodic review of tax policies and regulations.

Speaking further, the Vice President II, ACFE, Lagos, Dr Titilayo Fowokan, emphasised that the menace of financial and digital fraud had denied Nigeria huge benefits both socially and financially.

She stated in particular, tax fraud had been an issue of concern lately, considering the shifted focus on tax revenue as a major option for economic diversification.

Fowokan, expressed confidence that Nigeria can meet and even surpass the projected 20 per cent tax-GDP ratio if various tax policies and enforcement are executed in fairness.

“There should be sound corporate governance system, increased tax education, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, non-discriminatory enforcement of laws, naming and shaming of defaulters and more importantly, government at all levels should put in place a structured reward system composed of incentives and punishment,” she added.