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There was panic among customers of Heritage Bank Plc on Tuesday leading to long queues for  withdrawals and enquiries at various branches of Heritage Bank Plc following  the arrest  by Police Special Fraud Unit ( SFU) of its three officials   and two MTN employees on Monday July 10, 2017 for allegedly sharing telephone numbers  of customers  and siphoned over N150 million  from several accounts.

The Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU)  announced on Monday  the arrest of 11 suspected fraudsters for allegedly siphoning off money from bank accounts using phone number linked to customers account obtained from shady MTN workers.  Police said the gang was working across the country.

Our correspondent on the field reported unusual crowd of customers at some of the branches of Heritage Bank  including Lagos/ Abeokuta Expressway at Sango-Ota  and Oke Ilewo in Abeokuta, Ogun State as well as two branches located  at Osogbo in Osun State. Also, our correspondent gathered that officials of the bank  came under pressure  as a result of long queues witnessed at some of the  bank’s branches in Lagos particularly Agidimgbi, Allen Avenue, Balogun on Lagos Island and Alaba International Market among others. The banking halls of these branches had several customers  while the ATM galleria were had few customers.

Our correspondent gathered that some of the customers rushed to the bank to change telephone numbers on their accounts while others prefer to empty their accounts for fear of being siphoned.

Efforts made to speak with Group Corporate Affairs officers of Heritage Bank led by the Head, Fela Ibidapo proved abortive. There was no response to text messages sent to them to confirm that the suspects arrested by the Police SFU are staff of Heritage Bank.

However, MTN spokesman Funso Aina denied that the alleged fraudsters  are not staff of MTN but that of a distribution company.

The unit’s spokesman of Police SFU, ASP Lawal Audu confirmed the arrest at the Unit’s office in Ikoyi office, disclosing that staff of the bank and the MTN has secretly run an information sharing business robbing unsuspecting bank customers of millions of Naira.


The fraud describes how scores of unknowing victims–from  the bank –have been snookered by the bank and communications outfit scheme.

The suspected bankers are Oyelade Shola-Isaac, 32, Osuolale Hammid, 40, and Akeem Adesina, 33, while the network service provider employees include Okpetu John, 29, Chukwumnoso Ifeanyi, 30 and Salako Abdulsalam, (ICT specialist), 30.

Other suspects were Ismaeel Salami, 49, Akinola Oghuan, 34, Sarumi Abubakar, 32, James Idagu, 56, and Sunday Okeke, 33., stressing that they were all arrested in Lagos, Ibadan and Ilorin.

Audu noted that the job of the banker’s suspects was to provide the syndicates with information of the bank customers with funded accounts that were not into internet banking.

He said that the network provider suspects assist to swap the sim cards (GSM numbers) of the targeted bank customers so that they will be unable to receive alert of any transactions on their accounts within the period that their accounts were being siphoned.

The spokesman said the suspects transferred the money siphoned into about 40 other accounts with ATM in different other banks. Audu said that the suspects usually carry out their operations during the weekends and public holidays  to evade being detected by the bank monitoring mechanisms or the owners of targeted funded accounts.

“The effort of the police team eventually paid off when the same group was holding their final meeting at eateries along Bode Thomas Street, Surulere,l Lagos on the concluded plan to unleash another monumental fraud on unsuspecting customers.

“Their plan was to defraud another new generation banks between May 26 and 29,’2017. Detectives stormed the venue during which one of the major kingpin claimed to be Alhaji Ismaeel Salami and four members of the syndicate were arrested.

“Thirty five ATM cards affixed with account numbers and passwords were immediately recovered from them.

“It was, however, unveiled that this criminal syndicate usually sourced these bank ATM cards from their owners, especially among the vulnerable youths deceiving them to release their AlTM cards, account numbers and passwords for eventual monetary rewards based on the amount their card receive,” he said.

The spokesman, therefore, advised members of the public to be careful of fraudsters activities, warning them against giving out bank detains to strangers.

Audu said that the suspects will be charge to court as soon as investigation is concluded.

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