A Nigerian man identified as Ezeneche Uzochukwu and five others have been arrested in Bangkok for a N2 billion romance scam.
A police search in seven locations in Bangkok, Nakhon Sawan, Phuket and Pathum Thani on Monday, led to the arrest of the six suspects, Pol Maj Gen Suwat Saengnoom, chief of the Crime Suppression Division, said on Tuesday May 26.
According to Bangkok media, the suspects were identified as Ms. Punyawee Chusinjiraphat, 46; Mr. Ezeneche Uzochukwu Jorome, 44, a Nigerian national; Ms. Sasithorn Nuankaew, 22; Mr. Sudjai Kamnon, 34; Mr. Thotsaphol Siripru, 33, and Mr. Nirandon Thianthavorn, 29., were arrested on Monday, May 25, and charged with conspiracy to defraud and putting false information into the computer system
The report states that the arrest came after a victim filed a complaint with Pol Maj Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), last year, saying she had been swindled out of 1 million baht in a romance scam. The Crime Suppression Division of Bangkok police then began an investigation and found that the gang, comprising both Thais and foreign nationals, had colluded in swindling the complainant.
Police investigations revealed that one member of the gang opened an Instagram account under the name Mr Lanny Gray. He then approached the victim, claiming to be an American businessman working in Malaysia. After befriending the victim, the man switched to communicating through the Line chat app, sending numerous messages and promising to live in Thailand with her. After gaining her trust, he told her she would send parcels containing valuable items to her.
The police say another gang member, a Thai, later contacted the victim by phone, claiming to be an agent from a shipping firm and telling her to pay fees to receive the parcels. The woman had paid almost 1 million baht but had yet to receive any packages, said Pol Maj Gen Suwat.
After receiving money from the victim, the gang also tried to swindle more money from her. Another gang member, claiming to be a hospital employee from Malaysia, had phoned her and said Mr Lanny Gray had suffered serious injuries in an accident and was under treatment at a hospital. The impostor had asked her to pay almost 500,000 baht in medical bills for Mr Gray. The woman became suspicious and tried to contact him but failed. She decided not to wire the money and filed a complaint with the police at Wang Thong Lang police station.
Pol Col Wiwat Jitsophakul, superintendent of the CSD sub-division 3, who led the arrest, said investigators took more than five months to find clues about seven people involved in the scam. He said several women had fallen victim to the gang over the past few years, said Pol Col Wiwat. He said the gang had used about 50 bank accounts of other people to receive money transfers from victims. Once the money had been transferred, they used ATM cards to withdraw the money and deposited it to personal bank accounts, said the sub-division three chiefs.
The police say the Nigerian man runs a restaurant and a currency exchange shop as front businesses to conceal his wrongdoings. Police seized documents from those businesses for examination. The Bangkok investigators also found that the Nigerian suspect had committed a similar offence in 2018 in Chiang Mai by claiming to be a decommissioned South African military officer to lure his victim online. The investigators believed several women had fallen victim to this gang.
During the questioning, the six suspects denied all charges. They were handed over to Wang Thong Lang police for legal action. Police were extending the investigation and tracking down the seventh suspect, who was still at large.
Trading on NGX rebounds by N3bn
By Gistflash News
Sept 14, 2021
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) closed trading on Tuesday in green to halt the six-day consecutive bearish trend with a marginal growth of N3 billion.
The market upturn was due to investors’ renewed buying interest in the financial and industrial sectors.
Consequently, the market capitalisation inched higher by N3 billion or 0.01 per cent to close at N20.278 trillion from N20.275 trillion achieved on Monday.
Also, the All-Share Index grew by 4.88 points or 0.01 per cent to close at 38,920.50 against 38,915.62 on Monday.
The market positive performance was driven by price appreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks which are; UACN, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Africa Prudential, Oando and University Press.
Analysts at Afrinvest Limited said that “In the next trading session, we anticipate a negative performance as market remains short of a positive catalyst.”
However, the market breadth closed negative recording 21 losers as against 14 gainers.
UACN Property Development Company led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms by 9.93 per cent to close at N1.66 per share.
Academy Press followed with 8.33 per cent to close at 39k, while Courteville Business Solutions appreciated by 7.41 per cent to close at 29k per share.
Vitafoam went up by 3.88 per cent to close at N17.40, while Livestock Feeds appreciated by 2.88 per cent to close at N2.14 per share.
On the other hand, Sovereign Trust Insurance led the losers’ chart in percentage terms by 7.41 per cent to close at 25k per share.
University Press followed with 6.42 per cent to close at N1.02, while Regency Alliance Insurance shed 6.25 per cent to close at 45k per share.
UACN lost 4.85 per cent to close at N9.80, while Chams declined by 4.55 per cent to close at 21k per share.
Meanwhile, the total volume rose by 13.6 per cent to 228.48 million shares worth N1.88 billion traded in 3,376 deals.
This was in contrast with 201.10 million shares valued at N2.53 billion achieved in 3,340 deals on Monday.
Transactions in the shares of Wema Bank topped the activity chart with 46.76 million shares worth N35.97 million.
Access Bank followed with 28.24 million shares valued at N263.49 million, while United Bank of Africa sold 17.77 million shares worth N135.08 million.
Mutual Benefits Assurance traded 17.24 million shares valued at N4.88 million, while Fidelity Bank transacted 14.80 million shares worth N36.07 million.
Fidelity Bank grows PBT by 72.4% in 6 months
By Gistflash News
Sept 12, 2021
Fidelity Bank Plc has posted a profit before tax (PBT) of N20.6 billion for the six months ended June 30, 2021.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, disclosed this in the bank’s audited half-year (H1) results released to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Sunday in Lagos.
Onyeali-Ikpe said that the bank’s PBT represented a 72.4 per cent growth when compared to N12.0 billion recorded in the comparative period of 2020.
She added that profit after tax (PAT) rose to N19.31 billion from N11.30 billion recorded in the corresponding period.
She said the growth was on the Back of Increased customer transactions and improved operational efficiency.
“We sustained our impressive financial performance with double-digit growth in profit as increased customer transactions drove non-interest revenue while improved operational efficiency continued to moderate cost-to-serve,” she said.
Onyeali-Ikpe also said that the financial result for the period indicated that Gross Earnings increased by 6.2 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) to N112.3 billion on account of 27.8 per cent growth in Non-Interest Revenue (NIR) to N23.8 billion from N18.1 billion in H1 2020.
She added that the bank’s NIR was driven by strong growth in commission on banking services by 57.7 per cent, account maintenance charges by 50.6 per cent, digital banking income by 49.4 per cent and trade income by 33.7 per cent among others.
Total customer induced transactions across all distribution channels increased by 58.0 per cent YoY and 21.2 Per cent QoQ.
The bank showed a good appetite in funding the real sector with net loans and advances increasing by 15.8 per cent YTD to N1.53 billion from N1.32 billion in 2020FY.
However, the actual growth was 14.7 per cent while the impact of the currency adjustment (2020FY: N400.3/dollars-H1 2021: N410.6/dollars) accounted for a 1.1 per cent YTD growth in the loan book. Cost of risk came in at 0.3 per cent and the NPL ratio (stage 3 loans) dropped to 2.8 per cent from 3.8 per cent in 2020FY.
Other regulatory ratios remain well above the minimum requirement: capital adequacy ratio at 18.8 per cent from 18.2 per cent in 2020FY.
Total Deposits increased by 16.5 per cent YTD to N1.98 billion from N1.69 billion in 2020FY, driven by increased deposit mobilisation across all deposit types.
“Digital Banking gained further traction as we now have 55.1 per cent of our customers enrolled on the mobile/internet banking products and 89.3 per cent of customer-induced transactions were done on digital platforms.”
She also explained that the bank’s foreign currency deposits increased by 23.1 per cent YTD at 149 million dollars and now accounted for 18.5 per cent of total deposits from 17.5 per cent in 2020FY.
According to her, this is as the bank continues to harness the benefits of its renewed drive in the diaspora banking space.
“We look forward to sustaining the current momentum in H2 by optimising our balance sheet and lowering our cost–to–serve.
“This will translate to improved earnings while we remain committed to our medium to long-term strategic objectives,” Onyeali-Ikpe said.
Desist from Foreign Exchange malpractices, CBN warns commercial banks
By Gistflash News
Sept 11, 2021
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to always observe due diligence and desist from all forms of malpractices in foreign exchange (FX) transactions.
The apex bank gave the warning in a letter by Ozoemena Nnaji, Director of Trade and Exchange Department, addressed to the DMBs.
Nnaji urged the banks to, not only ensure to know their customers, but also to know their customers ‘ businesses.
She said the directive was necessitated by recent occurrences in the FX market.
“The CBN wishes to remind all banks that it is their responsibility to not only know their customers (KYC requirements) but also know their customers’ businesses (KYCB requirements).
“Given this responsibility , and in view of recent occurrences in the market, the CBN will like to remind banks to desist from all forms of FX malpractices.
“We wish to reiterate that FX operating licences of any bank or banks that are found culpable with ongoing investigations will be suspended for at least one year,” the director said.
She urged all the DMBs concerned to take note and ensure compliance. (
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