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Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte Canvass Use Of Tech To Rescind Effects Of Covid-19, Tackle Fraud

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo disclosed that for improved banking operations and a safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organized virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics, etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was a need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting the 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of the technology would enable us to identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritize the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritize digitization and flexible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.

NEWS

Oyewale Femi Emerges NAOSRE President, Vows To Set The Pace For Security Reportage

Peter Okunoren

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The National Association of Online Security Reporters, NAOSRE, on Thursday in Lagos, elected Mr. Oyewale Femi as its new President.

Femi, an experienced journalist who is the publisher–Editor-in-Chief of Sahara Weekly and Sahara TV, is to preside over the association’s affairs in the next two years.

In his acceptance speech, the new President thanked the electoral body, NAOSREC, for conducting a hitch-free election. He also thanked the former executives led by Mrs Favour Benson, Board of Trustees and members for the unprecedented confidence reposed in him through their votes, promising “Not to disappoint.”

In reference to the poignant #EndSARS protests that upturned and unbalanced the country’s security bearings, Oyewale called for redoubled media efforts in the promotion of peace and harmony in Nigeria.

“Understandably, NAOSRE members must prepare to undertake the stressful yet inexorable push to enthrone balanced security reportage for a better and secured Nigeria.”

Continuing, he admonished members “To always stand on the path of truth and avoid illogical assertions capable of twisting the wheels of secured nation.

“I, therefore, call on members for more dedication. Let us strive to make NAOSRE the association to beat as well as set the pace for security reportage in Nigeria,” he requested.

Earlier in her remarks, the association’s former President, Favour Benson, thanked members for their cooperation during her tenure.

She however sued for unity and commitment to attain NAOSRE’s objectives.

Ugbechie Francis, an Information Technology expert who observed the election described it as free, fair, and credible.

“From what I see today, NAOSRE’s credibility is not in doubt. Members are full of enthusiasm to take frontline roles in security reportage not only in Nigeria but across the Continent,” he stated.

Those who emerged as elected executive members are Mrs. Love Ikuku Oyedokun, Vice President, Dayo Bamgbala, Secretary, Mrs. Azuh Lilian, Financial Secretary, Gbenga Shaba, Registrar.

Others are Adetogun Olakunle, Treasurer, Edwin Usoboh, Provost, and Abiona Adenike, Welfare.

The newly elected executives include Abayomi Obatinuadeyo, Online Director, and Idumonza Isidahomhen, Public Relations Officer.

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NEWS

CBA Foundation Lends Voice Against Police Brutality, Backs Effective Policing, Good Governance

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Chinwe Bode-Akinwande (CBA) Foundation, a non-governmental organization in Lagos, has joined well-meaning Nigerians across the world to lend its voice against the unfriendly approach of the Nigeria Police Force to civil policing and respect of human rights.

The foundation expressed its support to the widespread cry on the need for the Nigeria Police Force to be uplifted and modernized to promote its efficiency in the discharge of its primary duties of protecting the lives and properties of all residents in the country, irrespective of nationality.

A statement by the foundation’s chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr. Adesina Adegunle, on Friday, said that as the protest for #EndSARs, #EndPoliceBrutality is being looked into by the government (legislative and executive arms), as well as other stakeholders in the place of influence and authority, a common ground and lasting solution is expedient so the trust of the police by everyone is achieved.

“We stand for #EndPoliceBrutality #EndDehumanisation on all grounds. Without a doubt, the victims of police brutality at the extreme case, hence death, have left many women widows; it has left many widows losing their children as well, with many having no one to turn to. Such dehumanization has made the meaning and essence of life lost by the victims.

“Now is the time to speak up, listen, represent right, and see through the solution we seek. We need to hear the plans, see actions, and feel the effectiveness of the timelines in place.

“We need a listening government, people-centered leaders that will be bold to ask the public to track and hold those in authority accountable.

“Good leadership and representative governance are all we seek because Nigeria is ours and indeed the role security plays to the growth and development of the country cannot be overemphasized. God bless Nigeria,” he noted.

The CBA Foundation is primarily dedicated to promoting the protection of Nigerian widows and their vulnerable children, restoring immediate and lasting hope, confidence, and courage in their lives.

Established in 2015, the foundation, under its 5-point agenda, has reached out to thousands of underprivileged widows and children through skills acquisition training, health intervention, business start-ups, and provision of clothing, nutrition, and tuition fees for the children.

In breakdown, 5,600 widows have been empowered through its women empowerment and capacity building initiative; over 3,500 underprivileged widows have received health intervention; over 3,500 have also received food items.

The foundation has also reinstated 45 children in school, empowered 120 widows financially to start a business of their own, and also provided palliatives to 250 widows during the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down.

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BIG STORY

Senate Minority Caucus Knocks Buhari Over Lauretta Onochie’s INEC Nomination, Calls For Withdrawal Of Nomination

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The Senate Minority Caucus said on Tuesday that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), flouted the nation’s constitution with the appointment of his media aide, Lauretta Onochie, as a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The opposition senators in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja and signed by their leader, however, asked Buhari to withdraw Onochie’s nomination.

They noted that Buhari, by nominating Onochie, “has willfully gone against the constitution that he swore to uphold.”

Part of the statement read, “Item F, paragraph 14 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) forbids a card-carrying member of a political party to be a member of INEC.

“The Minority Caucus of the Senate is against this nomination and call on Mr President to withdraw it.”

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