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EFCC Remands Cybercrime Suspects in Prison

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recorded yet another breakthrough in its determination to check the incidences ofeconomic crimes in the country, with the arraignment of 58 persons in connection with advance fee fraud, before the Federal High Court in Kaduna presided over by Justice Shuabu Mohammed.
The suspects who were arrested in an operation tagged “Operation Cyber Storm1” carried out in the nation’s three geo- political zones of South West, South East and South-South, included: Kalu Agwara, Emejuru Prince Patrick, Mang Agbai Ude, Mukaila Aina, Maduka Nnamdi Stanley, Oti Gabriel Arinze, Precious Kalu, Onyekwelu Peter Ndigwe, Anan James, Okunwa Christian Udeh, Kazeem Adewale, Abiola Samson, Adigwe Ngozi, Okpere Pullen, James Momoh, Ese Irohoboinose, Yisa Adisa, Odion Kevin, Ojo Solomon Taiwo, Abiodun Bashorun, Churchill J. Essien, Adewunmi Aringbola, Sanusi O. Abdulwasiu, Babajide Lukman, Okeke Oscar Nkem, Elisha Osughe.
Others are, Olasaide Dare, Koiki W. Adewale, Adebowale Muyiwa, Akinde Samson, Imoh Idiong, Ezechukwu Samuel, Sagunwero Allen Ihama, Sunday Oladunjoye, Ubani Felix Uzor, Imonima Kingsley, Emeka Asoanya, Prince Onyechere, Hak Azu Kalu, Muyiwa Odusonya, Anthony Ugwude, Ibini Kayode, Balogun Otaigbe,Prince Iheoma Esionu,Nnachi Ephraim,Dadi Ike ,Chigozirim Nwafor, Adenuga Lateef Olatunji,Ekwebelem Promise,Sorunke Odunayo Smith,Obasi Nwankwo Irem,Presely Omorogbe, James Momoh,Oame Benjamin,Olumide Aluko, and Titus osita Okeke.
They were cumulatively slammed with more than eighty-five count charge all predicated on internet related fraud offences based on obtaining by false pretences, while 7 of the accused persons were arraigned on the ground of failure to obtain full particulars of customers, permission of their business premises for the commission of the offences and non- registration of their cybercafés with the EFCC.
Though 17 of the 58 accused persons were not present in court, those in attendance were represented by counsel including Suleiman Rufai, BenChurchill Aniekwena, E.B.O Ibiloye, Mike Nwakanma, Obi I.I., M.A.Ikpe, B.M.Badru, among others. The prosecution counsel totaling twelve were led by Messrs. Johnson Ojogbane and Joshua Saidi.
Reacting to the oral applications for bail by counsel to the accused persons some of who cited the fact that their clients voluntarily reported themselves as at when needed by the EFCC, the prosecution lead counsel, Joshua Saidi, noted that it was pertinent that a formal application be made to support the facts as being presented by the defence counsel.
He along with other prosecution counsel argued that while they concur that granting of bail was at the discretion of the court, it should be done in consideration of the nature of the charge, severity of punishment and evidence before the court.
While refusing all the oral bail applications by the defence counsel, Justice Muhammed however, granted bail to only one of the accused persons, Nnachi Ephraim whose counsel Joe Umoelin the trial judge said was able to substantiate with proof his written application for bail.
The offence attracts a term of not more than 20 years and not less than 7 years without an option of a fine if an accused is found guilty, and all the cases have been adjourned to different dates from Friday 5th November to Tuesday 16th December, 2008; while the accused were ordered remanded in prison custody.


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Microsoft Moves into 5G Race with Azure Cloud for Telecom Operators

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Microsoft Corp unveiled a new cloud platform on Monday aimed at enabling telecom operators to build 5G networks faster, reduce costs and sell customised services to business clients.

After banning China’s Huawei from its telecom network, the U.S. government has been pushing big American companies such as Microsoft to get more involved with 5G – a technology which promises to enable everything from self-driving cars to remote surgery and more automated manufacturing.

The new platform will be on Azure, Microsoft’s flagship cloud computing business, and the company says it will reduce infrastructure costs, give flexibility to add services on demand and use artificial intelligence to automate operations.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president for Azure Networking, told Reuters that it could cut costs by 30%-40% in some cases.

The developer of Windows and Office software entered the 5G arena after its acquisition of cloud networking companies Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch earlier this year.

“The telco DNA was obtained through those acquisitions and we went from a small number of engineers in this space to literally hundreds of engineers,” said Khalidi. “On the other hand, the foundational pieces, including edge compute, we have had in a pipeline for many years.”

The company has already partnered with companies ranging from telecom operators such as Verizon VZ.N and AT&T T.N to network equipment firms such as Samsung 005930.KS and Mavenir to either use or sell the new platform to clients.

Microsoft’s move will increase competition for existing 5G service vendors like Nokia NOKIA.HE and Ericsson ERICb.ST, said CCS Insight analyst Nicholas McQuire.


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Interior Ministry Boosts Digitization Process with New ICT Projects

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Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, over the weekend commissioned the e-Library, e-Law Library, CCTV Surveillance network services and other projects in his office in Abuja to digitize work processes and procedures in the Ministry.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said that the projects were part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at repositioning the Ministry for better performance in line with its mandate of providing internal security and citizenship integrity for Nigerians and foreigners alike.

According to him, the e-Library will avail officers the opportunity to access the right information, in the right form and time.

“The e-Library gives our legal and other officers 24/7 access to a wide range of online resources, which can be updated in real time and we believe this will enhance the quality of their work to the benefit of the Ministry”, he said.

The Minister further assured of government’s commitment to putting in place measures that will boost staff capacity and also ensure self-development, with a view to ensuring proper implementation of projects, policies and programmes that will improve the lives of Nigerians which would lead to economic transformation in line with the present Administration’s policy thrust.

Aregbesola emphasized that crime and criminality has become complex to handle, the world over, hence the need to deploy modern technology to fight it.

He therefore called on staff to see the projects as morale booster for self-development and urged them to continue to support the efforts of government towards improving the lives of its citizens.

Earlier, Lanre Adesuyi, the Chief Executive Officer, Havillah Merchants Limited, thanked the Minister for giving them the opportunity to provide workers with state of the art equipment for efficient service delivery.

On his own part, Mr. Mohammed Mustapha, the Managing Director, Aliph Technologies, called on government at all levels to see the deployment of modern technology as one of the best ways to tackle security challenges in the contemporary world.


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Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte Canvass Use of Tech to Tackle Fraud & Rescind Effects of Covid-19

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on 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.

Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO of Heritage Bank, speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), 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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