Bags of naira and dollar cash recovered from the fraud syndicates.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested some members of an alleged cyber-fraud syndicate with N326 million and $610,500 cash.
The commission said in a statement on Tuesday that the syndicate included the Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Ismaila Atumeyi.
Mr Atumeyi was arrested along with an alleged serial fraudster, Joshua Dominic, in a sting operation, at Macedonia Street, Queens Estate, Karsana, Gwarinpa, Abuja, on 30 October, the anti-graft agency’s statement stated.
The statement signed by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said Mr Atumeyi was arrested with the naira component of the funds and cash sum of $140,500.
It added that EFCC operatives recovered $470,000 from a former bank employee, Abdumalik Salau Femi, in Lagos on Tuesday.
The statement said Mr Femi, who allegedly supplied inside information that facilitated a cyber-attack on a bank by the syndicate, was picked up on Tuesday at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lagos.
After Mr Femi’s arrest, the EFCC said, a search warrant was “conducted on his home in Morgan Estate, Ojodu” where the money was said to have been recovered.
The recovery brought the total amount of dollar components of the money recovered from the syndicate to $610,000, so far, according to the press statement.
The commission said Mr Atumeyi is seeking to represent Ankpa 11 Constituency in the Kogi State House of Assembly.
“The arrest of the suspects followed months of investigation into the hacking of one of the commercial banks by a syndicate of fraudsters who pulled off a heist of N1.4 billion,” the statement read in part.
It accused the syndicate of moving N887 million into the account of Fav Oil and Gas Limited, from where the fund was disbursed to several Bureau de Change operators and some auto dealers for exchange into United States dollars and purchase of high-end cars.
The EFCC said the suspects will be charged to court as soon as the investigation is concluded.
The commission said Mr Dominic, a self-styled investment expert, had been previously arrested by the police for an alleged N2 billion investment scam.
According to the EFCC, he defrauded over 500 persons in a phoney investment scheme.
“Dominic, who has severally (sic) been arrested for fraud, allegedly helped Atumeyi perfect the hacking plan through Abdumalik. Dominic, a self-styled investment expert and managing director of Brisk Capital Limited was arrested in May 2021 by the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police for an alleged N2billion investment scam. He allegedly defrauded over 500 persons in a phony investment scheme.
“Two Range Rover Luxury SUVs were also recovered from the two suspects arrested in Abuja.”
Rising cyber-attacks on banks
The EFCC also expressed concerns over rising spate of cyber-attacks on banks and the reluctance of the institutions to report such breaches to law enforcement.
The commission appealed to the various financial institutions to collaborate with it to secure the financial sector from threats of cyber-attacks.
“Meanwhile, the commission expresses concern about the rising spate of cyber-attacks on banks and the reluctance of the institutions to report such breaches to law enforcement. While warning that such reticence would only embolden the criminals, the EFCC appeals to financial institutions to collaborate with it to secure the financial sector from threats of cyber-attacks,” the statement read.
Clampdown on BDCs
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how EFCC operatives raided the offices of black market currency dealers in Abuja earlier on Tuesday in a bid to halt the rapid fall of the naira.
Naira plunged rapidly between Monday and Tuesday to more than 840 in Abuja a week after the the Central Bank of Nigeria said it will replace higher notes to fight counterfeiting, inflation and insecurity.
It will also be recalled that the EFCC had in the wake of the recent announcement by the CBN of plans to redesign and re-issue higher denominations of the Naira, warned Bureau de Change operators to be wary of currency hoarders who would attempt to seize the opportunity to offload the currencies they had illegally stashed away.
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Credit: Premium Times.