Home » Diversion Of $29 million: First Bank Manager Allegedly On The Run

Diversion Of $29 million: First Bank Manager Allegedly On The Run

A member of staff at First Bank Nigeria Plc, one of Nigeria’s founding banks, is wanted for allegedly transferring $29 million (N829 billion) into personal accounts, one of which is his wife’s.

Tijani Muiz Adeyinka was one of the employees escaping from the bank’s Iganmu branch.

The bank is struggling to meet the recapitalization requirements recently imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) due to the extent of the fraud, which reports state lasted for approximately two years.

Gazellenews reports that the bank conducted additional investigation and found that the initial estimate of the stolen money was N12 billion, but it has since increased to an astounding N40 billion.

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.

But the fraud was discovered when multiple suspicious transactions were found during an internal investigation that was prompted by a customer complaint.

The Bank reported the incident to the police and requested that they look into it further after finishing its internal investigation.

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.

Muiz sent money to his wife’s Zenith Bank account, according to court records and police statements. From there, the money was transferred to 34 more accounts and 1,190 more accounts at different 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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