BREAKING: N40bn ($29m) Fraud Hits First Bank, Top Manager on the Run

A staff of one of Nigeria’s first generation banks, First Bank Nigeria Plc, is on the run over alleged diversion of $29 million (N829 billion) into private accounts one of which belongs to his wife. The fleeing staff, Tijani Muiz Adeyinka, worked at the Iganmu branch of the bank.....Read The Full Story Here ▶

The extent of the fraud which reports said went on for about two years is rocking the bank to its foundation as it struggles to meet the recapitalisation requirements recently put in place by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to reports, the initial amount of the stolen money was put at N12 billion but has grown to a staggering amount of N40 billion after further investigation by the bank.

Muiz was a manager in the Electric Products team of the bank and exploited his role’s authority to process customer reversals. Instead of crediting legitimate reversal requests, he allegedly funneled funds into accounts under his control, evading detection for nearly two years.

The fraud was however uncovered after a customer complaint led to an internal investigation, revealing numerous suspicious transactions.

After conducting its internal investigation, the Bank informed the police on the incident seeking further investigation into the matter.

First Bank thus reported the incident to the Nigerian Police Force on March 25, 2024, and subsequently secured court orders between April 4 and April 8, 2024, to freeze hundreds of accounts implicated in the fraud.

Court documents and police statements indicate that Muiz directed funds to his wife’s Zenith Bank account, which were subsequently dispersed to 34 additional accounts and further distributed to 1,190 other accounts across various banks. This extensive network complicated the investigation and recovery efforts.

While First Bank has not disclosed the total amount stolen in its communications, the gravity of the incident underscores the persistent threat of fraud within Nigeria’s financial sector.

One of the beneficiary accounts reportedly used some of the stolen funds to purchase the stablecoin USDT from various cryptocurrency traders. These traders, who deny knowledge of the fraud, are now embroiled in a legal battle with First Bank, facing restrictions on their accounts.

The investigation continues as authorities work to unravel the full extent of the fraudulent scheme and recover the diverted funds.

A letter from First Bank to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police dated May 10, 2024, formally requested a thorough investigation and the apprehension of those involved.

Despite multiple attempts, First Bank and the Nigerian Police Force have not commented on the ongoing case.

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