The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has started a manhunt for a 38-year-old bank worker over alleged stealing of $38 million from his employers by hacking into computer systems.
It said Godswill Oyegwa Uyoyou allegedly conspired with others to steal N6.28 billion ($38m) from the Abuja office of a commercial bank.
This is one of the rising cases of electronic frauds in a country that is working towards the institutionalization of cashless economy which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hopes to drive via encouraging the use of alternative payment channels for paying for goods and services.
“As an IT staff, he used his knowledge of the bank’s database to perpetrate the scam. We are still on the trail of those involved in the fraud,” said EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren in Lagos.
The money was electronically transferred to accounts held by Uyoyou’s alleged accomplices on Saturday when the bank, which has not been identified, was closed for business, Uwujaren said.
Speaking during a cyber security summit organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Lagos, CBN’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Taiwo Longe said last year alone, money deposit banks (MDBs) in the country lost N140billion electronic fraudsters.
Nigeria has an unenviable reputation for financial and cyber fraud. The National Assembly has about two cyber security bills pending before it. Analysts blame the absence of a legal framework that severely punishes cyber crooks is responsible for the raft internet assisted frauds in the country.
According to figures released by the apex bank, between year 2000 and 2013, a whopping N159billion was stolen from the MDBs across the country through electronic fraud. These stolen funds are depositors’ money. When the banks are hit, they don’t make a noise because it may spike a round of panic withdrawals in a volatile economy such as Nigeria’s.
The EFCC was set up in 2003 to crack down on so-called “419” scams, whereby unsuspecting victims are tricked into handing over bank account details online.
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