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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Nigerian bank fraud up 40%
Nigerian street scene
Ordinary Nigerians have had their accounts pilfered
Nigeria's banks have seen almost $10m disappear through employee fraud in 2002, a rise of more than 40% on the year before, a survey by the country's banking regulator has found.

The total amount stolen was 1.29bn naira, up from 906.3m in 2001, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation reported.

Ten times that amount - 12.91bn naira - was recorded in attempted fraud, up from 11.24bn for a rise of 15%.

Most of the thefts, NDIC said, were the result of either forgeries or illegal withdrawals from customers' accounts.

The figures may well be an understatement, though, as NDIC said it believes financial institutions routinely underreport fraud losses for fear of negative publicity.

Bad name

Fraud and corruption have become an unfortunate staple in Nigeria's international reputation.

The country regularly features at the top of international surveys measuring the part played by graft in different economies.

Successive dictatorships have extracted billions from the exchequer, denuding the public purse of revenues from Nigeria's rich oil reserves.

Outside the country, Nigeria has become synonymous with fraud as some of its citizens use the boom in internet cafes to send "spam" e-mails, promising millions in exchange for the gullible recipient's bank details.


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