CID Stops $70M Bank Theft, Grabs 12 Suspects Made Up of Ghanaians & Nigerians

Twelve (12) suspected cyber-criminals made up of Ghanaians and Nigerians, have been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service for an attempted bank theft amounting to 326 Million Cedis ($70 Million), in the biggest ever cybercrime burst in Ghana.

An Accra Circuit Court on Friday, 27th July, remanded 11 out of the 12 suspects into police custody to reappear on August 9, 2018, as investigations continue.

Another suspect was later arrested, bringing the total number to 12.

The suspects, believed to be part of a wider cybercrime syndicate made up of Nigerians and Ghanaians, attempted transferring a whopping GH₵326 Million from the vault of Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) electronically.

The bank detected that the amount was transferred electronically into the internal operational accounts of UMB, and subsequently credited to the accounts of certain customers.

UMB, having suspected that its Information Technology Security infrastructure had been tampered with, quickly alerted the Financial Forensics Unit of the CID, who dispatched personnel to all branches of the bank to arrest persons who will visit the branches to withdraw money from identified accounts credited with the money.

It was discovered that the accounts that the monies were credited to were all single-purpose accounts opened purposely to receive the stolen money, and UMB quickly flagged all the accounts.

Each account was credited with between GH₵10 Million and GH₵15 Million.

About GH¢1 Million of the money had already been withdrawn from some of the accounts through Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates using internationally accepted credit cards, even before the case was reported to the Police.

The ages of the all-male suspects ranges from 25 to 49 years.

The names of the suspects have been withheld since investigations are continuing.

Read Also: Transnational Organized Crime: Eight arrested by FBI, including 3 Ghanaians for Cyber crime amounting to $15 million

UMB announces cyber attack
Management of UMB, in a statement over the weekend, announced that it successfully collaborated with officers of the Ghana Police Service to cause the arrest of members of an unscrupulous syndicate, who attempted to attack the bank’s infrastructure.

“UMB wishes to state that due to the significant infrastructural investments made into the bank’s operational systems, the technical and security teams of our bank were quickly alerted and moved very swiftly to avert this situation.

“Our bank remains resilient and very committed to working with the security forces to clean the environment of any form of cyber miscreants,” it said.

UMB expressed appreciation to the Ghana Police Service, for their professionalism and tactful recommendations in their collaborative efforts towards the execution of the exercise.

The management of the bank appealed to its valued customers to keep faith with them.

UMB is a full-service financial institution specialising in customised banking products and services.

UMB opened on March 15, 1972 and is a leading Ghanaian indigenous bank with considerable financial expertise.

UMB is recognised for its entrepreneurial approach, innovative use of technology, and distinctive banking solutions.

UMB currently has 36 branches, three UMB Centres for Businesses, one UMB PPP Incubator Centre, and a vast network of ATMs.

Report by Gideon Sarpong | Wake Up Africa