CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

29 April 2014

Nigeria: Central Bank of Nigeria Threatens to Sanction Banks Over Increased Fraud

Banks in Nigeria have until November 30 to meet specified payment card security specifications or face sanctions as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) steps up the fight against fraud.

In a move deemed as a major step towards maintaining personal and account information security in processing card payments, the CBN in a circular recalled an earlier circular that had given banks up to December 2012 to comply with the payment card industry data security standards.

This is a major step to safeguarding personal and account information conveyed in processing card payments.

"Circular on timeline for PCIDSS certification by all deposit money banks, switches, processors," threatened to "invoke appropriate sanctions for non-compliance with the provisions of this circular." Read a circular from the director of Banking & Payments Systems Department, Dipo Fatokun.

The new extension is expected to enable banks that have been unable to complete the certification process meet the new deadlines even as the bank announced it has also engaged the services of three Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs) to conduct pre-certification assessment of banks to determine their readiness.

"The result of the assessment showed that while many banks and processors have complied with the standards, some are at various stages of compliance."

According to a report released in February 2014 this year detailing the fraud and forgery cases among Nigerian banks showed that there was an increase in the number of fraud cases in the country from the previously recorded 2300 cases to 2478 cases.

In value the new cases were valued at approximately $139 million a jump from the previous $43.5 million in the same period of 2012.

The fraud was carried through diverse means including: theft, illegal funds transfer, fraudulent withdrawals from customers' accounts, cheque defalcations, suppression and conversion of customers' deposits, and fraudulent ATM withdrawals.

"To mitigate the increased operational risk as a result of these frauds, several measures were recommended to improve the DMBs risk management control function. These measures included the implementation of stricter internal control, improved technology audit to routinely check employees' activities and a more thorough approach to hiring employees for highly sensitive areas of operation," the report added.

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