Two undergraduates of University of Jos, Isaiah Friday, Azzaior Samuel and two bureau de change operators, Salihu Mahmoud and Dan Ibrahim have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for defrauding Union Bank of N2.05bn.
The suspects were also accused of being members of a syndicate that specialised in breaking into the computer data base of financial institutions to carry out dry posting of funds.
The Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspects were arrested in Lagos and Jos.
He said, “Their arrest comes on the heels of a petition which the commission received from Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Marina, Lagos, in January 2013, alleging that a criminal attack had been launched on its data base known as ‘Flexcube’, by yet-to-be-identified criminals who falsified the bank records and accounts and created unjustified huge opening balances in several accounts across the bank’s branches. They subsequently transferred funds from those accounts to several accounts in other banks.
“The petition, which was signed by one A.F Olufade, Head of Fraud Investigation at the bank, said cash withdrawals and electronic transfers totalling N2.05bn was involved in the scam.”
It was learnt that EFCC initial investigation showed that Friday, who was carrying out computer system maintenance services for one of the Union Bank branches in Jos, Plateau State, on a part-time basis, paved the way for the fraudsters to penetrate the bank’s database.
Uwujaren said, “Friday was traced and arrested. His arrest led to the arrest of Azaaior Samuel.
“Investigations further revealed that Samuel introduced Friday to Mahmoud, who is the mastermind of the fraud with others now at large.
“Mahmoud and other collaborators told Friday that they needed access to the bank’s database in order to carry out some postings. They promised to give Friday N.5m if the deal succeeded.”
The offer was agreed by Friday, and on the day the crime was committed, he told people at the bank that Samuel was his colleague who had accompanied him to work.
It was learnt that after the gang had succeeded in gaining access to the bank’s premises, it carried out the postings to six different company accounts domiciled in Union Bank’s Marina branch in Lagos.
Uwujaren said, “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 withdraw all the funds. Friday was paid as promised and other syndicate members now at large shared the remaining balance.”
The EFCC spokesman added that the commission had been able to recover $2,129,900 and another N134,542, from the fraudsters.
He said, “Other items recovered are furniture worth N10m from Salihu Liman’s one bedroom apartment in Yaba, Lagos; four vehicles, landed properties in Kano and Kaduna and a four-bedroom duplex worth N45m in Lagos.
“Investigation into the scam continues.”