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Cheque Truncation, NEFT Battle for Life

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The cheque truncation system of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is threatening the life of Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system, an irrevocable fund transfer instruction because the former now offers faster cheque clearing cycle, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now report.

Unlike the drudgery associated with NEFT, cheque truncation now eliminates the need to move the physical instruments across branches, except in exceptional circumstances; making the realization of proceeds of cheque possible within the same day.

Investigations showed that this new instrument is in hot demand as customers seek to reduce the time taken to clear the cheques.

Mr. Oluwaseyi Agboola, ICT vendor at the popular computer village narrated how his customer who uses Ecobank Plc gave instruction for certain amount of money to be transferred to him on a Friday only for him to get value in his Sterling Bank account on Tuesday morning.

He said: “This is equivalent to old system of cheque clearing I will rather go back to cheque which has improved than wait forever for NEFT to come.”

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that NEFT passes through the same clearing circle like cheque.

The delays in NEFT are often caused by some banks that are reluctant to carry out instructions especially when it concerns paying out money to another bank.

Bindesh Pandey, regional manager, West Africa, Newgen Software Technologies, said that Nigerians trust cheque more than electronic transfer and thereby prefer the use of cheque especially now that the days of clearing has been reduced to one day.

But that is not to take the shine off NEFT, the good old instrument because the payer’s bank simply will not accept the order if there are insufficient funds to cover the payment instruction.

Tunde Lemo, Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, disclosed last week that the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) recorded over N20billion daily transaction by value, while the Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) conducts about N60billion transactions daily.

NIBSS provides the infrastructure for automated processing, settlement of payments and fund transfer instructions between banks, discount houses and card companies in Nigeria.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that some of the payments that can be effected with NEFT Credit Transfer service: individual (person-to-person) fund transfers; merchant payments that is payments for goods and services; payment of tuitions; individuals paying utility bodies (water, electricity, telephone bills, Multichoice, FSTV, etc.); revenue collections by government agencies e.g. Customs, FIRS; and distributor payments.

Others are; government taxes; subscription payments (magazines, clubs, associations, etc.); charity donations; and payment to religious bodies (churches, mosques).

The NEFT is quite similar to the GIRO payment method which has become popular in Europe and other parts of the world.

The NEFT payment system provides additional consumer payment option and allows for  24-Hour credit transfer system, with a nationwide coverage for transfer instructions cleared through the Lagos Clearing House.

Bank transfers are more secure for both the customer and the banks and there are no cheques that may be misplaced, lost or stolen. In addition, since the payment goes directly from the customer to the bank, there is no possibility of fraudulent alteration of the payment amount.

Cheque truncation system on the other hand  is basically an online image-based cheque clearing system where cheque images and Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) data are captured at the collecting bank branch and transmitted electronically.

Truncation means, stopping the flow of the physical cheques issued by a drawer to the drawee branch.

The physical instrument is truncated at some point en route to the drawee branch and an electronic image of the cheque is sent to the drawee branch along with the relevant information like the MICR fields, date of presentation, presenting banks etc.

Cheque truncation substantially reduces the time taken to clear the cheques as well enables banks to offer better customer services and increases operational efficiency by cutting down on overheads involved in the physical cheque clearing process.


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SEC, EFCC Partner Against Ponzi Schemes

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The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are committed to strengthening the partnership between the agencies with a view to tackling the menace of Ponzi schemes in the country.

This commitment was restated during a courtesy visit by Mohammed Danladi, the Kano Zonal Head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to his EFCC counterpart, Sanusi Aliyu Mohammed on Tuesday.

The SEC Zonal Head described his visit to EFCC as an effort to solidify the already existing relationship between EFCC and SEC.

“This visit is nothing more than to solidify the existing relationship between EFCC and SEC which dates back to the inception of EFCC. We are here to renew that relationship, foster it and fight the common enemy together”, he said.

Mr. Danladi expressed concern about his Commission’s challenges dealing with operators of wonder banks which are on the rise especially in the northern part of the country.

According to him, “the operators of the illegal scheme are taking advantage of the financial illiteracy of the public to defraud them in the name of investment”.

He added that most of the Ponzi scheme operators avoid SEC registration because they know they would be monitored.

In his response, Sanusi Mohammed, the EFCC Zonal Head, suggested a joint operation between the two agencies to curtail the spread of Ponzi schemes and prevent the public from falling victims of the scam.

Mohammed further assured the SEC of the Commission’s continued support as the two agencies share common objectives to fight financial crimes. “As long as the mandate of EFCC and that of SEC remain, you cannot separate the SEC and EFCC. We will continue to work together institutionally, “he said.

“Where the SEC’s main concern is to make sure investors are protected from losing their investments, the EFCC’s concern is the protection of the general public from the activities of fraudsters, which are one and the same,” the Zonal Head added.


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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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