If fraud was a competition in the banking sector, then the elephant logo financial institution will claim the first prize this year as the bank with the most single fraud in a quarter.
There’s currently, fire in First Bank, days of investigations by SecretReporters in partnership with LeadingReporters can authoritatively report. Customers who value their hard earned money should begin to withdraw their money deposited in the bank if they must stay alive, as the current fraud which has rocked the bank is threatening to throw the bank into financial crisis, due to cover up by the Managing Director, Adesola Adeduntan and other top management staff.
Fact findings by the duo of SR and LeadingReporters revealed that a staggering sum of N11.4b has been recently wired away from depositors account in what is obviously an internal conspiracy among the Branch Manager of Murtala Mohammed Way, Benin City Mr Solomon Obode and some ICT heads in the Bank’s Headquarters in Lagos State.
We gathered that the relationship officer in charge of the fraud account has absconded with his family members out of the country with a total of $2 million; no sooner the fraud was perpetrated.
This massive fraud which is not the first of its kind in First Bank has thrown the bank into financial mourning, yet the management has refused to act, as some of them are allegedly partakers in it, rather they secretly sacked some staff, just to douse tension.
Those who lost their jobs as a result of the massive fraud are Mrs Okao who was the former Branch Manager of MM branch and now branch manager of Mission Road of First Bank in Benin City, Emmanuel Akpaka, a marketer with MM way branch.
Among those who were also dismissed was the Business Development Manager, Benin 2 who also functioned as the Area Manager.
In all of these, the MD has refused to touch any of the ICT Staff, who were key players in the fraud, neither were they placed on suspension, we gathered. The matter has also not been reported to security agents or any of the anti-graft agencies, insiders claimed.
Sources within the bank noted that the fraud may have been agreed on and executed with the collaboration of those at the helm of ICT department in their Headquarters.
“It followed what looked like a hack on the bank’s payment channel”, stated one of our sources.
“It was well planned and executed. The MM way branch was the platform that was used to execute it. It is possible that it was well planned and executed as the payment channel was erased immediately after the money was wired, indicating a conscious collaboration”.
Meanwhile, the bank echelons are making frantic efforts at covering the fraud since it might spell doom on them and further erode customers and shareholders confidence. Various sources confided in us that there have been in the recent past silent diversions and fraud which comes like writing off loans running into billions of Naira, especially from those who have a relationship with the top management of the bank and silent shareholders who use proxies.
“This is just one of the frauds silently rocking the bank. Each time it happens, there seem to be what could be termed as a conspiracy of silence and that could have been what stirred the new fraud”.
All efforts to contact the bank’s corporate communication head proved abortive as they didn’t pick calls from our newsroom and didn’t return same.