MTN Nigeria Embroiled in Row after 11 Arrested for Fraud

The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigerian Police has arrested 11 individuals, including two alleged members of MTN’s staff, who are all suspected of participating in a fraud worth over NGN150mn (USD475,000). However, MTN disputed that any of their employees were involved in the scam; a representative of the telco stated that the two individuals purporting to be from MTN were actually “employees of a distribution partner”.

According to the police, the fraudsters stole money from the bank accounts of various victims. Whilst a banker supplied details of the victims’ bank accounts, the two telecoms workers blocked their phone numbers. It was not made clear how blocking the phone numbers facilitated the crime.

One of the individuals arrested by the police tried to pass the blame on to unnamed engineers at MTN headquarters, saying:

I have no hand in that fraud. Someone used my access to do it and it was the fourth time it happened within a month. The first time, they used my manager’s access, within two weeks, it was the assistant manager’s. The next person was a colleague before mine was used… I suspect the engineers at the headquarters because they are the ones who usually gave us access to the systems. They know the passwords.

The conflicting testimonies make it difficult to assess who actually did what. But one thing is sure: when frauds occur, it is easy to drag the name of big telcos into the fray.

You can read more about the arrests at The Nation.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is a recognized expert on communications risk and assurance. He was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and others.

Eric was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He was a founding member of Qatar's National Committee for Internet Safety and the first leader of the TM Forum's Enterprise Risk Management team. Eric currently sits on the committee of the Risk & Assurance Group, and is an editorial advisor to Black Swan. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.

Commsrisk is edited by Eric. Look here for more about Eric's history as editor.