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How Fidelity Bank Workers Cloned 22 ATM Cards, Steals N874 Million From Customers Accounts



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In a courtroom in Ikeja, Lagos State, a witness recounted a startling tale to the judge and those in attendance. The witness, Peter Ige, an Information System Auditor at Fidelity Bank, took the stand as the second prosecuting witness in a case presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He shed light on how certain Fidelity Bank employees were allegedly involved in a scheme to embezzle a staggering sum of N874 million from both the bank and its customers within just three days.

Mr. Ige meticulously detailed how four individuals, namely Omidiji Joseph, Olusegun Babasola, Abisola Ahmed, Uchechukwu Uma, and Jude Aphaeus, were accused of infiltrating the bank’s database. According to the EFCC’s statement, these individuals managed to clone over 22 Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, which they subsequently used to siphon off the aforementioned N874 million.

The charges brought against the accused revolve around this alleged fraudulent activity, as they stand accused of embezzling funds from five corporate clients: American International Insurance Company Limited (AIICO), Interswitch, OVH Energy Marketing Ltd., Fidelity Bank Sinking Fund Account, and FSL Securities Ltd. Throughout the proceedings, the accused individuals pleaded “not guilty” to these charges.

In the courtroom, Mr. Ige’s testimony served as a crucial piece of evidence, as the EFCC seeks to build its case against the accused parties.

How alleged fraud was discovered

Mr Ige told the court how his department was asked to investigate the “massive fraud” in July 2019.

Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, the witness identified the four defendants in the dock and gave details of the findings of the internal investigation carried out by his team.

“On July 15, 2019, as a System Auditor, my team was called upon to look at an instant of ATM fraud reported to the Internal Audit and to investigate same,” he said.

He explained further that his team reviewed the systems, the affected accounts as well as those who must have carried out the activities on the accounts. “We observed that the accounts were linked to a set of ATM cards, with their daily withdrawal limits increased from N150,000 to about N150million.”

He added that the permitted frequency of withdrawal was also increased, saying, “This was very abnormal; and so, it aided the commission of the fraud.”

The witness also stated that the investigation focused on the members of staff who had authorised privilege and login details to view the accounts of customers and also increase such frequency and limits on withdrawals.

“Normally, there should be a request either from the customer or another department requesting the services.

“In this case, from our investigation conducted, there was no evidence provided by the defendants to go into these accounts.”

He told the court that after the investigation by his department, an activity log was compiled, which formed part of the internal investigation.

The case has been adjourned till Thursday for the continuation of the trial.

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