Monday 6 June 2011

Nigeria: Banks in Fraudulent Enterprise

Taking on reputation inertia

Nothing annoys me more than when I get fobbed off with some legal refuge of unconcerned apathy but institutions that would rather I disappeared than engage and rise up to their responsibilities.

On a personal note, I am devastated by the fact that some confidence trickster was able to use a mother’s anxiety to con the lady out of a large sum of money by playing out a story about her son being in some serious trouble.

Now, nothing will please me more than to have that cretin hunted down and brought to book but that requires the proactive and ready cooperation of certain trust-dependent institutions to happen.

Happy to bank on fraud

One would think in the case of a bank when criminal activity is reported as the case of the use of a bank’s reputational facilities like a bank account for the promotion of criminal enterprise the bank would move mountains to retain its integrity and hard earned reputation by pulling all stops to avoid being labelled an organisation that aids, abets, supports and fosters the means for fraudulent and nefarious activities.

Rather, I was offered the platitudes contained in the following sentences, with my comments in parenthesis.

Saying nothing with much

Please do be assured that we have handled this suspicious transaction alert within the confines of our internal policy as well as the regulatory and legal framework of our business operations.

[Having read this statement a good few times, I really cannot make any sense of it or what it means. Whilst it appears to suggest they have done something about it, it really reads like they cannot be bothered and all the fuss I am kicking up can buried within the highfalutin “regulatory and legal framework of our business operations.”]

Kindly be informed that our fiduciary obligation prevents us from disclosing information pertaining to any of our customers to third parties.

[I did not ask that any information be revealed; I simply informed them of the reputational risk they are open to by the use of their accounts for criminal activities.]

They just don’t get it

However, should you employ legal means to resolve this matter and we are expressly requested to provide information relevant to an ensuing investigation we would be obliged to do so.

[This seems to prove that they are doing nothing about it because they are waiting for me to institute legal proceedings on a matter they for them should have been of the greatest concern if word begins to get out that this bank probably should begin to rank as one of the easy targets and conduits for 419 businesses.

There are enough fraud watching sites out there to raise this bank’s profile to and at some time it would come to the notice of rating agencies, potential business client and financial auditors that the management of the bank does not project a healthy atmosphere for transparent and honest business engagement in Nigeria.

They simply do not get it, they will eventually.]

We believe this clarifies your concerns.

[No, it does not; it obfuscates the matter and shows your apparent lack of concern.]

They really don’t

Thank you for choosing Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.

[One would think they are writing this to the criminal that used their banking services. I chose to inform the bank that their reputation is at stake, the criminal chose to use Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc. to funnel criminal proceeds and somehow it has not occurred to them that a great cost might well hit the bank if they do not proactively work to protect their reputational asset, if they ever had any at all.]

A profile to chase

I have gone further to provide the bank with more detail about the criminal, Johnson Ademola Babatunde who seems to have a number of bank accounts littered around the Nigerian banking space to funnel the profits of criminal enterprise.

At Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc with the Savings Account no. 9304743966

At UBA it is 03170520116389

He also has a FinBank account but he has not yet divulged the number of that account.

Obviously, there is need to escalate this matter if the banks are that unconcerned, but I hope that this albeit minor episode would begin the reputational clean-up of Nigerian banking through proactive monitoring and tracking down of criminals rather than wait to be compelled to fight for their business integrity.

Related blog: Johnson Ademola Babatunde - I'm on your case

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