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CBN, Experts Say Bitcoin is Dangerous Scam

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians and financial institutions to stay away from bitcoin and other digital currencies.

 

Experst also said that when bitcoin inevitably crashes, inexperienced investors who believed the hype could lose everything.

 

In Nigeria, CBN said the virtual currencies are not legal lenders in Nigeria and are unacceptable.

 

The bank called on financial institutions not to transact businesses in the currencies and anyone who does such, is at its own risk.

 

Digital currency bitcoin sold at $1000 in January 2017 and hit an all-time high of more than $19000 in December.

 

Currently, the price of bitcoin has been stagnated in the last two weeks and financial experts around the world continue to discourage investors.

 

Experts however said that Bitcoin’s price is not a reflection of its growing usage as currency; it reflects merely demand for the mirage of its speculative value.

 

Its price is rising only because people all over the world are hearing stories of how others doubled or tripled their money in a short period — and they don’t want to miss out. Unsophisticated investors are taking out loans to buy bitcoins. Those who have spent the currency feel remorseful when they see its price subsequently increase, so they hoard it.

 

Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group to be a digital currency. It allows money to be transferred directly between individuals using cryptography. The bank ledger is distributed to all users, and complex mathematical transactions ensure transaction integrity. Such a system makes it difficult for governments to know the identities of people exchanging money, so it has become a haven for money laundering, drug dealing, and corruption.

 

Beyond its usability for crime, bitcoin has major design flaws.

 

Bitcoins are created (or “mined”) at predetermined and gradually decreasing rates, with a total limit of 21 million issuable coins. The rate of increase in available bitcoins is not keeping pace with the number of people keen to buy them, so the price of a bitcoin keeps increasing. Because its price increases, both its “miners,” whose computers do complex calculations to earn the currency, and those who buy bitcoins from others feel reluctant to use them as currency by spending them. Instead, they sit on their coins while they wait for the price to rise further. With bitcoin supply constrained and increasingly falling short of demand, instead of functioning as a currency, bitcoin is a speculative empty asset.

 

Then, there are problems with the technology itself.

 

First, anyone who has access to a bitcoin password (or private key) has the authority to spend the bitcoins it unlocks; loss of the password means loss of all of the associated bitcoins, with no recourse. Second, linear growth in the chain of blocks that make up bitcoin is resulting in exponential growth in the computation necessary to process and verify transactions: Transactions that used to take 10 minutes now take hours. Third, with bitcoin transaction fees hovering above $25, a $5 payment now costs $30. This obviously is not a workable digital currency.

 

What is most worrisome for the planet is the energy expenditure that verifying transactions now requires. The bitcoin network is reportedly consuming energy at an annual rate of 32TWh — about as much as the entire nation of Denmark. Each transaction consumes 250kWh, enough energy to power an average Western home for nine days. China has become the dominant bitcoin-mining nation, with its provinces providing ultra-cheap energy to miners.

 

Digital currencies surely are the future, but other options make more sense than bitcoin. Take China’s WeChat Pay and Alipay, which now process $5.5 trillion of payments. Or India’s Unified Payments Interface, which makes it possible to transfer money between people within seconds — for no fee. This occurs bank to bank, provides customer support and security, and has little overhead. So there are better and simpler ways.


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Oreoluwa Adesakin, First Bank Staff Jailed for Stealing N49m

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Oreoluwa Adesakin, a staff of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has been convicted for fraud and handed a total term of 98 years in prison by Justice Muniru Olagunju of the Oyo State High Court.

Oreoluwa Adesakin, First Bank Staff Jailed for Stealing N49m

Oreoluwa Adesakin

But she will spend just seven years in jail.

Adesakin was found to have committed financial fraud against First Bank to the tune of N49,320,652.32.

She also stole $368,203.00 belonging to the bank, which she converted to her personal use.

Adesakin, before she was busted by the bank and sacked, was its Money Transfer Operator, saddled with the responsibility of effecting payments through Western Union Money Transfer and MoneyGram platforms.

The convict was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), on a 14-count charge, bordering on stealing, forgery and fraudulent accounting.

One of the counts read: “That you Oreoluwa Adesakin sometime between the months of May, 2013 and November, 2013, at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division, whilst being a staff of First Bank PLC stole the sum of N25,974,116.13 (Twenty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand, One Hundred and Sixteen Naira, Thirteen Kobo) from First Bank PLC MoneyGram Payment Naira Account, property of First bank PLC.”

She pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Usman Murtala, prosecution counsel, presented every vital document and witnesses which nailed the convict.

Justice Olagunju noted that the EFCC presented incontrovertible evidence against the convict and did a diligent investigation and prosecution.

He thus pronounced Adesakin guilty of all the counts.

He sentenced her to seven years in prison without an option of fine on each of the 14 counts. The sentencing will run concurrently.

Apart from the jail term, the convict is also to restitute the First Bank, through the EFCC, all the money she stole.

The convict was arraigned April 4, 2014 by the EFCC following a conclusion of investigations against her which arose from a petition from her former employer, dated December 18, 2013.

The bank alleged in the petition that Adesakin fraudulently manipulated its Moneygram accounting and withdrew N49,320,652.32 and another $368,203.00 for herself, which the bank only uncovered while reviewing its internal account.

The EFCC was also able to establish that the convict used part of the proceeds of her crime to acquire landed properties in different parts of Oyo State.


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CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

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Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has recertified the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry.

CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

The council also renewed the academy’s accreditation for the next three years, effective from June 2020.

Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, said the recertification followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

The recertification, according to Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since its initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

He noted that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.

Mr Ogunpola commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting the high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.

He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.

In his reaction, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director/chief executive, NDIC, described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.

Mr Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cutting across the NDIC’s workforce.

“It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

“On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in other African countries had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy,” the managing director noted.

He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).

Mr. Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.

The NDIC boss emphasized that the Corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation.

“The ultimate goal would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system,” he said.


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Deloitte, Heritage Bank, PWC Urge Internal Auditors to Embrace IT to Tackle Fraud

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Deloite, Heritage Bank Plc and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) have urged internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), Ifie Sekibo, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.


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