he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force are currently collaborating to resolve different cyber-related crimes cases involving Nine banks and six bureauxde change institutions.
A report by the Political Economist revealed that the EFCC and the SFU are handling some 197 cases involving over nine commercial banks and six Bureaux D’ Change, respectively.
According to the report EFCC operatives at the Lagos office alone are trying to solve the puzzle behind some 100 of such cases, whereas the police detectives at SFU at Milverton Road, Ikoyi in Lagos, are still combing through the files and scouring the monetary system to unravel some 97 cases.
A police commissioner (CP) and head of the SFU, Tunde Ogunsakin, said, “we are treating a large number of cybercrime cases. Let me say this, we have a special unit handling such matter here and that is for professionalism and dispatch.”
According to him, over nine commercial banks (names withheld) all based in Lagos are being investigated for cybercrime cases ranging from illegal transfer of money through the internet, by-passing the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Bureau (NIFIU) or other related security agencies.
He, however, assured that despite the sophistication of the cyber criminals, “SFU has been able to give them sleepless nights, especially in the city of Lagos and Abuja. We have successfully charged over five of them to court and the trial is still going on at various courts in the country.”
At the EFCC where some 100 of cybercrime related cases were reported last year alone, and are currently undergoing investigation, the Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, said over 50 of the cases are before a court of competent jurisdiction in Lagos.
He also said that presently five banks in Lagos have been warned by the anti-graft agency for engaging in electronic fund transfer fraud, while five persons are currently serving various prison sentences.
Lamorde maintained that fight against the heinous crime requires every citizen’s involvement, saying “after all, it is all of us that are being treated with contempt outside the shores of this country, so everybody must get involved in this fight.”
In the cases involving Bureaux D’ Change, Lamorde said the concerned operators have been sanctioned accordingly. He said such sanctions include withdrawal of operating license and forfeiture of such money to the state.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of AITEC Africa, Sean Moroney, said that cybercrime cases in the banking industry have gone unreported because banks are reluctant to publicise them for image reasons.
Moroney, while projecting on the ICT trends in the current year, said it was impossible to arrive at any accurate estimates of the financial cost of online and mobile fraud in 2012.
He added that banks are reluctant to publicise cyber attacks.
“But based on the incidents that have been reported and various expert assessments, the volume is escalating dramatically. The continent’s explosion of mobile money services became imperative as banks and mobile service providers compete for customers. This has increased phishing attacks on unsuspecting customers in an effort to lure them to fake sites,” he said.
The AITEC boss added that Kenya, for instance, could have lost up to $23 million in 2013 through cybercrime, “according to cybercrime statistics released by Fred Matiangi, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Information and Communication Technology, with the banking industry the most affected.”