23 banks swim in MMM billions

Posted by News Express | 31 May 2017 | 5,500 times

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No fewer than 23 Nigerian banks received inflows amounting to N28.7 billion executed in 460,000 transactions through the Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM) Ponzi scheme within six months, the 2016 annual report of the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) has revealed. The amount was moved between June and December 2016.

The report disclosed that by the time the scheme “crashed” on December 13, 2016, over N11.9 billion had been lost by gullible subscribers.

The NeFF report, which was unveiled in Abuja Tuesday at a stakeholders workshop on cybercrime, organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), disclosed that since the MMM scheme had a 30-day cycle before return-on-investment (RoI) was realised, everyone who put money into it after November 12, 2016 did not get their money out.

“No fewer than 23 banks received inflows amounting to N28.7 billion executed in 460,000 transactions through the MMM Ponzi scheme. The amount put into the scheme between November 13th and December 15th, 2016 (through interbank transactions) totals over NGN11.9bn. This amount was largely not recovered.

“To put this amount into perspective, the 2017 budget for Defence Headquarters is N4.7 billion. This implies that the amount transferred by Nigerians under the MMM Ponzi scheme would have funded the Nigerian Defence HQ almost six times over.

“Majority of the transfers made by customers of banks that participated in the MMM Ponzi scheme were made through the account-to-account transfer platform.

“This was followed by the mobile channel, and lastly, through the web channels of other transfer platforms in the industry,” the report said.

It added that 34 financial institutions paid out money for investments into the MMM Nigeria Ponzi scheme, adding that the customers included those of commercial banks, mobile payment operators as well as mortgage banks.

“By the side are the amounts, in terms of volume and value for each financial institution that money was paid out from. Fewer banks received inflows of MMM transactions than the number of banks from which outflows occurred,” the NeFF report stressed.

It also stated that MMM followed the usual pattern of Ponzi schemes, pointing out that “they continue to build momentum and crash when the maximum amounts are already invested in the scheme”.

The NeFF report added that the peak of the MMM investment was in November 2016, when over N13 billion was transferred among the participants, pointing out that the CBN had in the middle of 2016 warned about the dangers of the scheme.

In a related development, the volume of fraud reported in 2016 indicated an 82 per cent increase in reported cases, with an estimated N2.19 billion losses.

The NeFF 2016 annual report titled, “A Changing Payments Ecosystem: The Security,” said the financial industry recorded an 82 per cent rise when compared to 2015 and over 1,200 per cent rise when juxtaposed with the situation in 2014.

According to the report, despite the 82 per cent increase in reported fraud cases, the industry was able to reduce fraud by 2.7 per cent when compared to the 2015 figure.

“Comparing the attempted fraud against the actual losses, the industry was able to salvage 49.7 per cent of the total amount attempted by these fraudsters within the year.

“These figures informed us that there are more attempts on a yearly basis with different innovation tricks or modus operandi to take advantage of the system,” the NeFF report said.

The report also noted that 2016 witnessed a significant transaction increase across all payment channels in both volume and value in spite of the economic recession.

“In contrast with 2015, there was a 71.43 per cent spike in the volume of transactions processed through the NCS (Nigeria Central Switch),” it said.

In his address at the unveiling of the NeFF 2016 annual report, CBN’s Director, Banking and Payments System and NeFF Chairman, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, stated that the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) report of the Nigeria fraud landscape for 2016 indicated that fraud cases grew by 82 per cent over the 2015 figures, attributing the trend to the increased usage of new payment platforms.

Adapted from a THISDAY report.



Source: News Express

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