By Rosemary Onuoha
Operators in the insur-ance industry have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to respond to fraud related issues in the insurance industry the way it responds to issues in the banking sector.
According to stakeholders who spoke to Vanguard, the EFCC does not regard the insurance industry the way it regards other sectors of the economy, particularly the banks.
Mr. Yomi Rufai, interim Chief Executive Officer of Investment & Allied Assurance Plc, who made this assertion exclusively to Vanguard, lamented that the EFCC is slow in reacting to issues in the insurance industry.
Rufai noted that EFCC should have apprehended the sacked Vice-Chairman of IAA who is alleged to have defrauded the company of N26 billion, but the body choose to ignore the call to apprehend him while the culprit walks around freely despite the fact that the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has alerted both the EFCC and the SSS of his alleged fraudulent act.
Rufai, charged the EFCC to wake up to their responsibility, stating that the alleged stolen money should be recovered and ploughed back into the company to create some measure of liquidity in the system.
The interim CEO lamented that IAA is in need of cash to get back to business and wondered why the security agency is not serious with the issue.
However, a staff of the company who spoke on the basis of anonymity noted that the sacked Vice Chairman has friends in high places and even in the security agency, hence the reason for the hesitation in bringing him to book.
Rufai therefore called on the EFCC to act fast stating “The act was not a commercial transaction; it was a deliberate swindling of the company’s money from the company’s purse.”
Rufai stated that NAICOM has been able to identify the problem as well as who is involved and they have also done their part by reporting to the necessary security agencies of government as such the security agencies are supposed to do their own part.
In his words “One should give credit to NAICOM because they have been able to do what is needful of them as government by reporting somebody who has committed this fraud or atrocity. So, it is left for EFCC and SSS to actually carry out their own findings; charge the accused to court and recover public money that is in his custody as the CBN did with the likes of Cecilia Ibru of Oceanic Bank and Erastus Akingbola of Intercontinental Bank. We expect them to do a similar thing in IAA.”
Their role as interim managers of IAA, according to Rufai, is to operate the company as a going concern so that the pains of stakeholders in the company are minimised, adding “Our role as interim mangers is such that if the security agencies will want to liaise with us at any point in time, we will be willing to release any information or the other. But it is not for us to be going to them and be knocking on their doors.”