By Yinka Kolawole
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said it has frozen the accounts of some money lenders being investigated for violating the rights of consumers.
This follows enforcement operations carried out by inter-agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force (JRETF) comprising FCCPC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on the facilities of certain digital money lenders last Friday.
In a statement made available to Vanguard yesterday, Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, also stated that FCCPC had served orders on Google LLC (Play Store) and Apple Inc. (App Store) to take down some applications (Apps) being employed in violation of the rights of consumers.
His words: “In furtherance, and pursuant to an order of the Federal High Court procured by, and granted to the FCCPC, the JRETF executed a search and seizure order on certain digital money lenders.
“As part of the operation, the JRETF together with the Nigeria Police Force and bailiff of the Federal High Court searched locations of the money lenders, extracted valuable evidence and in some circumstances prohibited or restricted continuing operations.
“In addition to the physical operation noted above, the Commission entered and served orders on multiple financial institutions freezing or suspending operations of certain accounts which some of the money lenders have used to conduct implicated business or transactions subject of investigation.
“Further, the Commission also entered and served wide ranging orders on Google LLC (Play Store) and Apple Inc. (App Store) to enforce the withdrawal of certain applications where evidence has established inappropriate conduct or use of the application in violation of the rights of consumers.
“The order of the Commission also prohibits acceptance and presentation of new applications for the same purpose without regulatory assessment and approval.”
Irukera advised all the businesses that were subject of regulatory intervention on Friday to cease and desist the interest compounding and loan repayment/collection practices that are the objects of the investigation.