Facts have now emerged on how Access Bank aided impersonators of Peter Okoye, one of the P-Square brothers to defraud customers.
It is not news that the majority of bank fraud cases are only accomplished with the cooperation of insiders and bank employees who collaborate with fraudsters to swindle naïve customers, and this instance is no exception.
Peter Okoye, one of the P-Square brothers, expressed strong displeasure with a high-level of impersonation of his person that resulted in the defrauding of multiple consumers of ZOOMLIFESTYLE, an online lottery company he owns and is properly registered in Nigeria.
“The impersonators opened several accounts with Access Bank with the name Peter Okoye P-Square and pretending to be me. They consistently defrauded customers who are directed to make payments to either of the accounts, and because the account bears my name, customers consistently fell victim to the impostors’ fraudulent gimmicks,” says Peter Okoye, or Mr. P as he is also fondly called.
According to the singer, “the impostors’ continuous operations have harmed the company’s legitimacy and, to put it mildly, impacted the customer base, growth, and its earnings”.
How it all started
Following several complaints from customers who had become victims of the fraudsters, this newspaper understands that Mr. Okoye attempted to contact Access Bank management on several occasions, informing them of the nefarious activities perpetrated by his impersonators, but Access Bank consistently failed to act, instead worsening the situation, indicating that it was indeed an insider job.
What’s more concerning is that the minimum requirements for opening and operating a bank account in Nigeria include, but are not limited to, the account holder’s biometrics (a valid means of identification), corresponding address, account holder’s photograph, and, most importantly, the Bank Verification Number BVN.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the BVN to make it easier for banks to identify their clients as well as other Know-Your-Customer (KYC) regulations.
Due diligence was not conducted in the instance of Mr. Okoye’s impostors due to Access Bank’s complacency or connivance with suspected criminals, resulting in the scamming of ZOOMLIFESTYLE.
Okoye, who had vowed that the long arm of the law would catch up with the impostors with the help of the police, tracked and caught them all.
“About 11 of the boys using the name Peter Okoye P-Square and fake video, opened accounts in the name of the singer have all been arrested in Edo State,” Peter Okoye said in a recent interview with this newspaper through his lawyer, Barrister Somadina Eugene Okorie of Senocean Law Practice, who briefed us on the progress of thecase.
He commended the “exceptionally intelligent work” of a special police unit led by ASP Boluji and one Inspector Michael Bassey.
“Most of the guys confessed to the crime – pointing at Access Bank lapses,” says Barrister Somadina Eugene Okorie. Although the investigation is still underway, we believe there was also an insider collaboration.”
“One of the suspects alone owns 35 accounts in Access Bank, which he opened under the name Peter Okoye P-Square, and instead of taking responsibility for their actions, Access Bank officials are now shifting the blame to the Central Bank of Nigeria in their response letter to us, but we will continue to pursue the matter legally until the needful is done.
To put it mildly, these acts have undermined the integrity of our client’s company and diminished his customer base, growth, and earnings.
Our client also made several attempts to contact Access Bank on numerous occasions, notifying them of these criminal activities, but no positive result was obtained, rather the situation worsened by the day.
It is common knowledge, and we stand corrected, that in order to open and operate an account in any bank in Nigeria, the account holder must provide biometrics, a valid means of identification, a corresponding address, a photograph of the account holder, and, most importantly, the Bank Verification Number BVN.
How on earth could the suspects have successfully impersonated someone as well-known as our client and no eye brows were raised, no action taken by the bank until people were defrauded of their hard-earned money if Access Bank did its due diligence”?