NFIU, EFCC, Others Move against e-Fraud

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Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in collaboration with anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), telecom operators and other stakeholders yesterday inaugurated a multi-sectoral committee on e-fraud.

The committee members include: Aisha Isa-Olatinwo (CBN), Olufumi Fadairo, Wumi Faiga (NIBBS), Olusola Dawodu (First Bank), Oluwatoyin Ogunleye, Atinuke Nansel-Nanshap (Sterling Bank), and Yetunde Mosunmola, Wole Iyenu of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

The committee was given mandate to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the resolutions from the stakeholders’ forum on the financial frauds committed via telecommunications platforms held earlier in the year.

The proposed MoU was one of the resolutions reached at that the Stakeholders’ Forum of Financial Fraud using Telecoms Platforms, which took place on January 29, 2019.

Speaking in an event to inaugurate the committee, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said with the attainment of 35.4 per cent broadband penetration, cyber criminals, hackers and other unscrupulous elements are exploiting the platform’s vulnerabilities to gain illegal access to bank accounts.

Danbatta said the customer service and fraud operations units in banks and mobile network operators need stronger processes and tighter guidelines on how to detect potentially fraudulent activities and to compensate victims where prevention mechanisms fail.

He added that the commission was working closely with critical stakeholders such as CBN), EFCC, ICPC, the Nigeria Police Force, and other relevant agencies to implement technical and operational solutions in this regard.

The NCC boss pointed out that the committee would develop a plan for the implementation of the MoU, which according to him, would provide a roadmap for drastically curbing the menace of e-fraud.

He identified effective collaboration between government agencies and private organisations as pivotal in tackling electronic fraud.

“Permit me to emphasise that effective collaboration between government agencies and private organisations is pivotal in tackling this scourge of electronic fraud.

“With this in mind, members of the committee have been carefully selected to provide broad perspectives and leverage their diverse experience to successfully deliver on this critical assignment.

“Understandably, our expectations are high and we look forward to a comprehensive and all-encompassing output from the committee,” he said.

Earlier, in her opening remark, NCC Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, said prior to the stakeholders’ forum, the incidence of financial fraud using telecom platforms was pervasive, crossing all borders and boundaries in the industry spectrum.

She said the negative implications of such frauds were not only huge in financial losses but high in reputational damage to the telecom operators, the financial institutions, the regulators (NCC and CBN), security agencies and the nation as a whole.

“The commission had also been inundated with complaints on the unceasing cases of financial fraud via the use of telecom platforms and, as a result, was poised at seeking initiatives aimed at creating greater awareness on the issues as well as creating ways of mitigating problems arising from its occurrence.

“The stakeholders’ forum was, indeed, one of the initiatives put in place by the commission to harness ideas and solutions towards solving/mitigating the menace,” she said.