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Wema Bank Fined N61.4m After breaching 7 Nigerian Laws

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WEMA Bank found itself on the wrong side of 7 Nigerian laws in 2023, paying penalties totalling N61.350 million in one year.

This was revealed in the bank’s full-year 2023 financial statement, which showed that the lender contravened a cybersecurity law, a section of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circulars on Know Your Customers, among others.

On the cybersecurity framework contravention, Wema Bank received a fine of N2 million, but the lender was fined N20 million for breaching Section 19(3A) of BOFIA, 2020.

Also, Wema Bank was made to pay N17.45 million for violating the CBN circulars on KYC.

The bank further paid a fine of N10 million for the late rendition of final returns. The CBN circulars on KYC were targeted at reducing money laundering and other forms of financial crimes.

“There is no doubt that having sufficient information about your customer and making use of that information is the most effective weapon against being used to launder the proceeds of crime.

In addition to minimizing the risk of being used for illicit activities, it provides protection against fraud, reputational and

financial risks and enables individual financial institutions to recognize suspicious activities,” the CBN says in its KYC manual.

Similarly, the bank paid a penalty of N8 million for Risk-Based Supervision (RBS) breaches. The lender was likewise penalised for a regulatory breach on the CBN clearance, paying a fine of N2 million for the contravention.

For the late filing of its 2022 audited financial statements with the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), the tier-2 lender was fined N1.9 million.

Fraud and burglary lower but still risks

Fraud and burglary are still big risks for the bank, which lost N256.387 million to them in 2023. However, this was far lower than N880.154 million lost by the bank in fraud and burglary cases in the corresponding period of 2022.

This would mean that the bank took some measures to tackle fraud and theft in 2023, said a credit risk analyst, Mr Osai Djemba.

Mr Djemba explained that the bank “must introduce artificial intelligence measures to reduce its exposure to theft to the barest minimum,” arguing that “sophisticated thieves and several criminals have infiltrated the Nigerian financial system to steal, kill and destroy.”

Complainants demand N10.8bn

Wema Bank left 9,974 complaints unresolved by December 2023. This is lower than 13,642 unresolved complaints reported in the corresponding period of 2022.

Various customers with these complaints demanded N10.843 billion from the lender over the issues.

The bank, however, refunded N11.258 billion to customers (apart from the N10.843 billion), the financial statement said.

“As a result of the initiatives stated earlier, the Bank successfully reduced the average time taken to resolve customer complaints by 60% compared to 2022, and the resolution rate increased from 93% to 98% demonstrating our commitment to improving the experience of our customers consistently and efficiently, the bank noted.

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Crime

Femi Otedola tackles Jim Ovia, exposes ‘fraudulent transactions’ in Zenith Bank account

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The face-off between Femi Otedola, billionaire businessman, and Jim Ovia, chairman of Zenith Bank, over an alleged multibillion naira fraud has taken a turn for the worse, TheCable understands.Otedola had accused Zenith Bank of unlawfully using the account of his company, Seaforce Shipping Limited, to trade in 2011 without his knowledge or consent.Although this and other allegations are being investigated by the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the police, moves are being made to resolve the matters amicably.TheCable has contacted Ovia and Zenith Bank for comments.

UNAUTHORISED TRANSACTIONSDespite having not been operated since 2010, Seaforce Shipping’s account continued to be used for trading — completely unknown to Otedola, according to his petition to the police.Although Otedola said Seaforce never applied for nor took a loan from Zenith Bank, unauthorised trading running into billions of naira continued on the account.

When asked to provide documentation — including offer letters to support the grant of the said loans — Zenith Bank reportedly failed to do so.Otedola discovered the suspicious activities only recently — 13 years after the transactions — when he was tipped off by a whistle blower in Zenith Bank.When he confronted Zenith Bank’s officials, TheCable learnt, they apologised.Otedola produced a letter written on March 19, 2018 by Zenith Bank to Shofolawe-Bakare & Co, Seaforce’s auditors, stating a debt of only N2,278,420 on the same account, as against the N5 billion recorded in the bank statement seen by TheCable.

Curiously, on the day the letter was written, the bank statement showed a debt of N2.9 billion — compared to the N2 million stated in the letter signed by Taofik Bashir (internal audit control) and Edwin Kind Olie (group head, telecomm).

Transactions of over N16 billion were recorded against Seaforce’s account from 2011 to 2024.

Otedola queried who made the payments to reduce the purported debt from N16,927,628,581.84 to N11,010,924,522.71 because he was not in the know of the transactions.

There were credits of N77,169,375.00 on April 18, 2011, N119,822,762.50 on December 01, 2011, N316,537,329.30 on December 8, 2011, N266,361,181.73 on December 15, 2011 and N444,304,524.50 on December 12, 2011.

Seaforce now has a debt of N5,916,704,059.13 as a result, a chunk of it being interest charges.

A senior official of the bank has already been questioned by the police.

Meanwhile, Zenon, Seaforce, Luzon Oil and Gas, Garment Care Limited, and Otedola have secured a federal high court injunction against Zenith Bank, Quantum Zenith Securities and Investment, Veritas Registrar, and Central Securities Clearing System, restraining them from trading with shares or paying dividends.This injunction subsists until the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

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Crime

GTBank Staff Arraigned For Pilfers Customers’ N9.9 Million

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Guaranty Trust Bank, GTBank, has sued one of its staff, Komolafe Oluwayomi, 45, before a Lagos Magistrate’s court for allegedly breaking into the bank’s system to steal the sum of N9,989,000 from its account and converted the money to his personal use.The defendant was ordered arrested by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of Bar Beach division, Victoria Island, Lagos following a complaint by the management of GTBankAfter an investigation by Inspector Patience Eguabor and team, Oluwayomi, a resident of Unity Close, Ojodu, Lagos from Ondo State was charged before the Tinubu Magistrate’s Court, Lagos Island on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing.Police counsel, Ben Ekundayo informed the court that the defendant committed the offence during working hours at the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc located at Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.Ekundayo told the Court that the defendant betrayed the trust reposed in him by his employer as the officer in charge of payment of drivers’ retirement benefits by fraudulently including the name and account number of his friend in the retirement benefits payroll and used it to transfer the sum of N9,989,000 into his friend’s account as if his friend is a beneficiary of the retirement benefits and later transferred the money from his friend’s account to his personal account domiciled at GTB Bank and converted the money to his use.He said the management of GTB uncovered the fraud when they audited the drivers’ retirement payroll accounts.Ekundayo said the offences, the defendant committed were punishable under sections 411 and 287(7) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Magistrate, M.A. Owunmi granted him N2m bail with two sureties in like sum.Owunmi adjourned the case till 11 June 2024 and ordered that the defendant be detained at the Ikoyi correctional facility till he perfected the bail conditions.

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Crime

Police Invades Ondo PDP Guber Candidate, Agboola Ajayi’s Lagos Home Over Forgery And Perjury (Video)

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The Gubernatorial Candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party, for the forthcoming Governorship Election in Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi has been alleged of illegally occupying a Building property which is the beneficial property by purchase, of Segzyadet Integrated Ltd.The property is 5-Bedroom Duplex with Boys’ Quarter situate at 14B Abimbola Okulaja close, Lekki Phase1, Lagos Nigeria.

Segzyadet Integrated Ltd claimed it has purchased the said property through public bidding/auction, in 2023 and since then the occupant of the property who is Alfred Agboola Ajayi has refused to vacate the property, thereby inhibiting the occupation of it by the new owner.On Monday 6th of May when Newsmen were visited the premises to access the situation, it was discovered that the said occupant is still living therein. What is more, the staff of Segzyadet Integrated Ltd in the presence of Police Officers, were prevented from entering the Building premises.It took the effort of someone who came over and intervened before Journalists gained access into the premises.Speaking with Newsmen, Segzyadet Integrated Ltd CEO, Adetuwo Oluwasegun said the said Occupant of the building has refused to vacate the premises despite several notifications, in a manner that smacks of impunity.Check the video:https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMMW8ReAbHe said the occupant is leveraging on his connections as a politician to frustrate the Company from having quiet possession and occupation of the property. He called on all relevant Authorities to rise up to the occasion and call Alfred Agboola Ajayi to order.According to a reliable source, AGBOOLA AJAYI was said to have been using his father’s inlaw name as pseudo in most of his dealings including this particular property.The police has gotten confessional statement from the father in-law who denied his involvement in all the deals traced to him including the affidavit he was alledged to have disposed to.

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