First Bank employee on the run after stealing ₦40 billion

    A First Bank employee, Tijani Muiz Adeyinka, is on the run after allegedly diverting ₦40 billion (approximately $29 million) from the bank.

    The employee, who worked in the electronic products team at the bank’s head office in Lagos, allegedly used his authority to process reversals for customers to credit a merchant account he controlled.

    The fraud was discovered after a customer complaint was escalated to the bank’s internal control unit, which found several suspicious transactions. The bank reported the incident to the Nigerian Police Force on March 25, 2024, and obtained three court orders to block hundreds of bank accounts believed to have received the stolen funds.

    The employee allegedly used the diverted funds to credit his wife’s account and other beneficiaries, totaling 98 bank accounts. The bank has begun legal action to recover the stolen funds and has obtained court orders to block the bank accounts of the first and second beneficiaries.

    The incident highlights the ongoing issue of fraud in Nigeria’s financial services industry, which affects both banks and fintech startups. Despite a decline in reported cases in Q1 2024, fraud remains a significant concern in the industry.

    First Bank has not commented on the incident, and the Nigerian Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have not responded to requests for comments.