First Bank Employee Allegedly Embezzles ₦40 Billion, Vanishes Without a Trace


First Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions with a market capitalization of ₦829 billion, has been shaken to its core by a case of alleged embezzlement within its ranks. The bank, renowned for its trusted reputation, has initiated legal proceedings in a bid to recover “huge sums of money” that were reportedly diverted by an employee at the Head Office Team in Iganmu, Lagos.

Investigations have revealed that the now-fugitive employee diverted these funds into a staggering 98 bank accounts, including his wife’s.

The tech-focused media platform, TechCabal, revealed that the financial institution lodged an official complaint with the Nigerian Police Force on March 25, 2024, to investigate the alleged fraud perpetrated by one of its employees. Seeking swift resolution, First Bank reportedly secured three court orders between April 4 and 8, 2024, aimed at freezing hundreds of bank accounts believed to have received the stolen funds, in an effort to mitigate potential financial losses.

According to TechCabal, three knowledgeable sources within the bank have confirmed that the amount of money believed to have been siphoned off from the financial institution’s accounts has ballooned to a staggering ₦40 billion ($29 million), more than triple the initially estimated sum of ₦12 billion.

Tijani Muiz Adeyinka, the employee at the centre of the scandal, served as a manager on First Bank’s electronic products team. The innocuous-sounding position, however, granted Adeyinka significant authority over the bank’s customer reversal processes, allowing him to credit merchant accounts and gain access to a crucial account for such transactions. According to one employee with knowledge of the matter, this put him in a position of considerable power within the bank, enabling him to surreptitiously divert significant sums of money over time.

The intricate web of deceit spun by Adeyinka slowly unraveled due to a seemingly innocuous customer complaint. First Bank’s internal control unit, acting on the complaint, began to investigate and discovered a disconcerting pattern of suspicious transactions. As they delved deeper into the case, the extent of the scheme gradually became apparent, revealing the extent of Adeyinka’s machinations. Alarmed by the findings, the control unit acted swiftly, alerting the Nigerian Police Force to the potentially massive fraud within the bank. Thus, the painstaking process of unraveling the truth and bringing the alleged culprit to justice began.

“We hereby bring to your notice the discovery of fraudulent transactions into various transactions within and outside the bank and request your good offices to set up the machinery of investigation in place with a view to unravel the circumstances surrounding the said fraud and get the culprits apprehending to face the wrath of the law,” read a letter dated May 10, 2024, from First bank to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police as revealed by TechCabal.

“I discovered that one Muiz Tijani Adeyinka, a former staff of First Bank was involved in the nefarious posting of fraudulent transactions,” read a statement from the investigating Police officer in charge of the case signed March 26, 2024.

“It was discovered that he made some fraudulent transactions to his wife’s account number (name withheld) domiciled with Zenith Bank, which in turn transferred to other beneficiaries totaling thirty-four accounts which also gave birth to second beneficiaries domiciled with other banks totaling 1,190 accounts,” the statement added.

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