CIO East Africa
Details are emerging about investigations into African banks that allegedly have been complicit in the growing incidence of cybercrime in the region.
Banks in the region have been hit by cybercrime, resulting in the theft of millions of dollars of customer money. But several banks are now being investigated in cybercrime cases, including inquiries about illegal transfers of funds via the Internet that bypass security agencies.
In Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed that it is investigating banks in the country for cybercrime complicity. The EFCC said it has already cautioned five banks in the country after anti-corruption agencies and the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigerian police reported an increase in cybercrime cases.
The names of the banks under investigation have been withheld.
According to EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde, more than 100 cases of cybercrime by the banks were reported to the commission last year. He said 50 such cases are already before the courts after suspects from banks were arrested and charged for cybercrime.
"Several banks which allegedly had insiders conniving with the suspects are being directly investigated and cautioned on the issue," Lamorde said.
In Zambia, security agencies have also revealed that investigations of some banks are underway as part of the effort to ascertain the causes of the sudden rise in cybercrime that has hit the financial sector. The Zambian police claim that some bank officials have conspired with people outside the country and have allegedly transmitted huge sums of money illegally via the Internet from the banks.
According to the police, the transferred funds are later shared, with some of the money transmitted back to some bank officials in Zambia using different financial institutions.
Four Bulgarians and a Kenyan have been arrested in Zambia for cybercrime and are appearing in court. The suspects were found in possession of bank data that was used to siphon money from the banks. The Zambian police suspect that bank officials conspired with the suspects to leak the bank data used for cybercrime.
Police Inspector General Stella Libongani said cybercrime in the country targeted at the financial sector is slowly getting out of hand.
"Zambia has become infested with cybercriminals that have entered the country through various entry points," Libongani said.
The Zambian police said millions of dollars have been stolen from Zambian banks through cybercrime.