Four top management staff of Union Bank Plc connived with an ex-staff of the bank to steal the sum of N1.87billion belonging to the bank’s customers.
In March this year, a staff of Union Bank, Temitope Oluwasanmi and his friend, Augustine Olayinka were handed various jail terms by Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court, Lagos State, on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent diversion of funds to the tune of N116million.
This recurrent fraudulent activities by staff of the bank, sources said, could hamper the operations of the ailing financial institution and further erode the trust between it and its customers.
Detailed investigations revealed that the four officials helped the kingpin, a former staff of the bank to successfully hack into the Flex-Cube Universal Banking System (FCUBS) and stole the whopping sum of N1.87billion
Last month, the media was awash with reports that a “Nigerian man identified as Salau Abdulmalik Femi has been arrested by detectives from the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force for hacking into the Flex-Cube Universal Banking System (FCUBS) of a first generation bank to steal N1.87 billion.”
DSP Eyitayo Johnson, Special Fraud Unit spokesman, who disclosed this in a statement, had said Salau, the kingpin of a syndicate that specialises in hacking into servers of banks and corporate agencies, created fictitious credits totalling N1.87billion on the accounts of three of the bank’s customers. He however did not mention the name of the old generation bank and also did not give further details of how the fraud was perpetrated.
But investigations revealed that four top management staff of Union Bank and the fraud kingpin conspired to commit the high level sophisticated fraud.
Authoritative police sources at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja confirmed the incident that Salau had confessed that the four Union Bank staff were fully involved in the fraudulent act and also aided him to consummate debits through internet banking transfers to other banks.
The detectives were said to be widened their investigations to ascertain if the fraud kingpin was invoved in other reported cases of frauds in the banking sector and other corporate organisations.
It was also gathered that authorities of the bank were fully aware of the involvement of the four staff in the fraudulent acts but pleaded with investigators not to make it public.
“Union Bank tried to cover up their staff involvement in the fraud. You could see that there was no mention of the name of the bank or the involvement of its staff. They also did not mention that the kingpin was a former staff of the unnamed old generation bank.The banking sector is bedevilled by insider fraud yet the authorities want to cover it to protect their image”, a bank customer lamented.
The skyrocketing cases of frauds involving bank staff in recent times is a major source of concern as it is fast eroding investor trust in the sector.
The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), in a report disclosed that the amount involved in fraudulent activities rose from N8.68bn in 2016 to N12.01billion in 2017, representing a 38percent increase.
The reported cases of fraudulent activities included fraudulent transfers/withdrawals, cash suppression, unauthorised credits and fraudulent conversion of cheques, diversion of customer deposits, diversion of bank charges and presentation of forged or stolen cheques.
Union Bank had in 2015, deployed the Oracle FLEX-CUBE Universal Banking Solution 12.0, with a view to modernising its infrastructure, improve operating efficiency and customer service delivery.
According to the bank, the latest version of the software was deployed as the single operating platform for its countrywide network to help improve business operations and enhance the customer experience.
In March this year, Uion Bank staff Temitope Oluwasanmi and his friend, Augustine Olayinka were handed various jail terms by Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court, Lagos State for similar offence.
Specifically, the duo were arraigned by the EFCC in December 2017 on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent diversion of funds to the tune of N116million.
Oluwasanmi was arrested by operatives of the EFCC in October 2017, following a petition from the bank.
He was accused of diverting N116 million to the accounts of three friends: Augustine Olayinka, Oginni Opeyemi and Ogbaro Oluwaseyi.
Their trial commenced in 2017 and they were jailed in March this year.
From Big, Strong and Reliable to a Simpler Smarter Bank, Union Bank Plc, which was established in 1917 has continued to record unimpressive performances over the years, hindering investors from reaping returns on their investments.
Union Bank was among the only three financial institutions that reported decline in profit after tax amid decline in gross earnings and impairment losses on financial instruments in the half year ended June 2021.