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First Bank Launches Legal Battle to Recover Diverted ₦40 Billion, Employee on the Run

Lagos, Nigeria – In a shocking turn of events, First Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, has taken swift action to recover a staggering ₦40 billion that was allegedly diverted by an employee from its head office team in Iganmu, Lagos. The employee, identified as Tijani Muiz Adeyinka, is currently on the run, leaving authorities in pursuit of justice.

The illicit scheme involved diverting funds to a network of 98 bank accounts, including those belonging to Adeyinka’s wife. Initially, it was estimated that around ₦12 billion had been siphoned off, but recent investigations have revealed that the amount has now skyrocketed to ₦40 billion ($29 million).

According to insiders familiar with the matter, Adeyinka, who held a managerial position on the electronic products team, had the authority to process customer reversals. Exploiting this position, he manipulated the system to credit merchant accounts under his control instead. Operating as the final line of authorization on the team, he was able to carry out this fraud undetected for nearly two years.

The fraudulent activities came to light when a vigilant customer lodged a complaint, prompting First Bank’s internal control unit to investigate. Their findings uncovered a trail of suspicious transactions, leading them to report the matter to the Nigerian Police Force.

First Bank promptly notified the authorities, stating, “We hereby bring to your notice the discovery of fraudulent transactions into various transactions within and outside the bank and request your good offices to set up the machinery of investigation in place with a view to unravel the circumstances surrounding the said fraud and get the culprits apprehending to face the wrath of the law.”

While First Bank has remained tight-lipped in response to inquiries from TechCabal, they have taken decisive legal action. Between April 4 and 8, 2024, the bank obtained three court orders to freeze numerous bank accounts suspected of receiving the embezzled funds.

The investigation has revealed a complex web of transactions, with funds flowing through multiple accounts. Notably, one first beneficiary account reportedly utilized a portion of the stolen funds to purchase the stablecoin USDT from various crypto traders. These traders, unaware of the illicit origins of the funds, find themselves entangled in a legal battle with First Bank, as their accounts have also been subjected to restrictions.

Fraud continues to plague Nigeria’s financial services industry, and even major banks like First Bank are not immune. In 2023, Access Bank lost ₦6.15 billion and Fidelity Bank suffered losses of ₦2.5 billion in three separate incidents, as reported by BusinessDay.

To combat this pervasive issue, First Bank obtained court orders to freeze the bank accounts of both the first and second beneficiaries involved in the fraudulent scheme. Additional orders were secured from high courts in Jalingo and Lagos to block further accounts linked to the incident.

As the manhunt for Tijani Muiz Adeyinka intensifies, the nation waits anxiously for justice to be served. The case serves as a stark reminder that financial institutions must remain vigilant and fortify their defences against such fraudulent activities.

Efecha Gold
Efecha Gold
Multimedia Expert, Journalist, and Singer.


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