April 23, 2024

Pathfinder News

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Data Abuse: CBN, EFCC,Others To Prosecute‘Loan Sharks’

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are set to commence investigations into the illegal practices of digital money lenders in the country.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC Babatunde Irukera on behalf of the joint regulatory and enforcement committee of the agencies involved in the investigations.
He said the collaborative investigation was to ensure enforcement action against already known violators while investigating others and commencing criminal prosecutions where applicable.
He stated that the conduct of some money lenders was becoming a dominant and abusive practice targeting some of the most vulnerable in society

Babatunde Irukera

“Continuing complaints about questionable repayment enforcement practices, including public shaming and violations of privacy, have led to significant and understandable consumer aggravation and dissatisfaction.

“Others are arbitrary, unjust, unreasonable, or exploitative interest rates and or loan balances calculations, harassment and failure of consumer feedback mechanisms, among others, have caused consumer aggravation,” he said.

Other agencies involved in the investigation are Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

He said the committee would lead efforts to address multiple potentially dubious conduct of some money lenders, also known as loan sharks. In August, NITDA had fined Soko Lending Company the sum of N10 million for sending threatening messages to borrowers, which  was a privacy invasion.

The ICIR in previous investigations had revealed some lending companies in the country were not licensed to carry out monetary operations.

Irukera also confirmed in his statement that some lending companies were not licensed by appropriate authorities to engage in the services they provided.

“Initial inquiries demonstrate that many of the purported lenders are not legally acceptably established or otherwise licensed by the appropriate authorities to engage in the services they ostensibly provide.

“A joint task force of analysts and enforcers was also created and immediately activated. The agencies recognised and welcome products and providers that bridge the lending gap for consumers who would otherwise be ineligible for conventional loans from traditional financial institutions,” he said.

He said the commission had created a dedicated email address to receive complaints, the identity of businesses or individuals involved in these practices.