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MM Schemes Achieve N300m in January



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Transactions across the various mobile money (MM) schemes in the country hit a record N300 million as at the end of January, underscoring a tipping point in the shift towards the cashless society, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.

The value was achieved in over 12,000 transactions and did not include transactions carried out within individual networks.

Though, a marginal increase of N50million over the value for November last year when value stood at N250million exchanged in 10,000 deals; it however showed the increasing ability to replace cash with digital money transferred via mobile phone.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the ability of a mobile money user of a mobile scheme to send money directly to the wallet of a user on any other service provider was made possible by connectivity service being provided by National Central Switch (NCS) that is offering the handshake.

Without interconnectivity the difficult decision of which mobile money service to choose might be influenced by which members of the customer’s peer group are already using a given service.

Emmanuel Okoegwale, Principal Associate, MobileMoneyAfrica, said, that there are only 47 Mobile Money deployments in West Africa out of 100 deployments in Africa.

According to him, Africa continent has shown great promise in the mobile financial services sphere but yet grapples with millions that are actively unbanked across all regions.

“Financial inclusion has become the buzz word within the regulatory, policy, financial, innovators, and technology circles and in the formal financial services space but significant barriers still stand in the way of reaching the bottom of the pyramid in Africa.” He added.

Okoegwale however stated that: “Nigerians should expect a much more aggressive roll out of services as collaborations deepen between licensed providers and Mobile network operators and other industry ecosystem players as we have seen with MTN / Diamond bank.

He also said that “Affordable and stable mass access channels like USSD and STK becoming more available and cheaper to use which in turn will scale up adoption since mobile money is a mass market product and should be immediately compatible with all mobile devices. Agency growth and spread will be the most significant achievement in 2014 as more formal retail distribution outlets step into mobilemoney and agency banking services to lower their transaction cost and reduce cash at hand in their outlets. Generally, the outlook for mobilemoney in 2014 is positive and encouraging based on the developments that we recorded in 2013”.

According to him, a recent report released by African Development Bank, on Financial Inclusion in Africa, finds that technological advances such as mobile money innovations have started to make inroads into banking the unbanked in Africa, with 14% of adults reporting they have used it in the past 12 months in comparison to less than 6% of adults in all other regions globally that used mobile money in the past year.

The African Development Bank predicts technology could be a “game changer” in drawing the financially excluded into the formal banking world.

Brian Larsen, Managing Director, Chams Mobile, identified major challenge of mobile financial services as network connectivity that has lead to both high costs for each transaction and high fixed IT costs.

He explained that current financial schemes such as mobile banking depend on network connectivity, making the network indispensable.

Chalapathi Rao Immidi, director, Business Development, mFino, said financial inclusion helps to make basic, essential services and utilities like energy, health, education, and water more accessible to people at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

“Access to affordable financial services helps in overcoming poverty, reducing income disparities, and contributes towards overall social and economic development,” he said.

According to him, some of the barriers to adoption of Mobile Financial Services include limited interoperability, where less than 20% of the products are fully or partially interoperable. Stringent regulation, where there is need to provide status for electronic transactions, flexibility in the application of CDD requirement for technology base solutions.

It would be recalled that transactions among mobile money schemes commenced in March last year after the expiration of the deadline of February 28 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave to operators to connect to National Central Switch (NCS) that is offering the handshake.

Presently, there are 16 companies licensed by CBN to operate mobile money transactions.

The CBN had said that the MMOs were licensed to accelerate the transformation of the nation’s payment system which would emphasis use of mobile phones.

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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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