POS operator dupes Access Bank of N1.2bn

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A prosecution witness, Chuks Igboerika, a manager with Access Bank Plc, on Monday told Justice M.S. Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how a suspected fraudster, Ifeanyi Nwaneri, had carried out fraudulent transactions to the tune of N1, 231,105,297.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-one Million, One Hundred and Five Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety- seven Naira, Eighty Kobo) using a Point of Sale, (POS).

Nwaneri is facing trial alongside Omede Silas Shehu and Monday Akor on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1, 231,105,297.00.

The complainant, Access Bank Plc, alleged it deployed a POS terminal enabled for international transactions/cards to Nwaneri, who is one of the bank’s customers with account number 0047820964.

It was further alleged that Nwaneri, who claimed to be a businessman, was later found to have carried out fraudulent transactions on the POS.

The bank also alleged that, on September 22, 2017, the POS Unit of the bank received a mail from Interswitch on alleged fraudulent transactions totalling N1.2 billion via the merchant’s terminal, a development that led to the arrest of Ifeanyi at the Dopemu, Agege, Lagos branch of the bank.

At the time of his arrest, Nwaneri was said to have withdrawn a sum of N532, 929,914.91 (Five Hundred and Thirty Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fourteen Naira, Ninety One Kobo), leaving a sum of N677, 856,826.80 (Six Hundred and Seventy Seven Million, Eight Hundred Fifty-six, Eight Hundred and Twenty-six Naira, Eighty Kobo) in his account.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the prosecution witness told the court that findings and reviews done by VISA and the Central Bank of Nigeria, revealed that the POS transactions did not follow the normal procedure for international card transactions.

Led by the prosecution counsel, Nnemeka Omewa, the witness said: “The transactions should have procedurally gone through the issuing bank, which is Access Bank Plc. Then, it should have gone to VISA, that is the owner of the card, through Interswitch, which serves as a switching company and finally to the POS merchant (the first defendant) through the consent of Access Bank.”

He said the transaction, however, went from the merchant POS to Interswitch without getting to VISA.

“But they were all approved by Interswitch as successful transactions,” he added.

He also told the court that findings by the CBN revealed that the transactions were fraudulent and consummated between Interswitch and the POS merchant. “

Consequently, Interswitch was sanctioned with 75 percent of the total loss to Access Bank; UBA was sanctioned with five percent of the total loss for its role in the transactions; Access Bank (the merchant’s bank) was sanctioned with 20 percent of the total loss based on its negligence on Know Your Customer (KYC) policy”, the witness further said.

Giving further testimony, the witness told the court that a sum of N677million was recovered from the first defendant’s bank account, leaving a debit balance of over N532m deficit, which was shared amongst the three parties-Interswtich, UBA and Access Bank by CBN.

The case was adjourned till July 26, 2018 for continuation of trial.

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