CBN suspends deputy governor, 4 others over $441,000 lost to hackers

*Central Bank of Nigeria.

*Central Bank of Nigeria.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

15 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has suspended a deputy governor and four deputy directors for failing to follow financial regulations and due process, leading to the scamming of the bank by fraudsters.

According to reports reaching Sweetcrude in Abuja, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Surveillance, Joseph Nnanna, had responded to some spam emails without first cross-checking the authenticity of the emails and following CBN stringent payment process before authorising the release of funds when the governor and several senior officials of the bank were on a flight to China last month.

Emefiele was said to have wielded the big stick by suspending the affected top officials because the CBN has laid-down procedures for the release of funds, none of which was followed in this particular case.

The names of the affected deputy directors could not be ascertained but they include the deputy director in charge of payment, the deputy director trade and exchange department, and the deputy director in the office of the governor, who heeded Nnanna’s directive to pay when they themselves ought to know CBN’s payment due process.

About $441,000 was initially lost to the scammers. $251,000 was however blocked and recovered, leaving a balance of $190,000, which had already been cashed by the fraudsters.

Two of the scammers have reportedly been caught in Dubai, United Arab Emirate and are currently being questioned by investigators.

From their modus operandi, the scammers apparently timed the execution of the fraud to take place when the CBN governor and other deputy governors were out of the country.

A statement posted on CBN website only stated that the bank had uncovered and aborted fraud without giving details.

The four-paragraph CBN statement signed by the Ag. Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor, and titled, ‘CBN Uncovers and Aborts Fraud,’ reads: “A highly sophisticated plot to defraud the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by some criminal minded elements has been uncovered and aborted by the bank.

“Although preliminary investigations so far have not revealed any accomplices within the CBN, management has decided to place all key personnel involved in the transaction on suspension. “This is to ensure a full and unfettered investigation.

“This incidence has been reported to relevant authorities. The CBN wishes to assure the general public that the security of the bank remains intact.”

Sources within the bank said following the incident, the governor had warned that henceforth any such infraction would be summarily dealt with.

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