FG investigates firm for supporting illegal online lenders

The federal government, through the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, said it is investigating the role of an anonymous consulting firm in supporting the illegal activities of some online money lenders in Nigeria.

The national commissioner of the office, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, revealed this during an exclusive interview with The punch.

A media report in May had revealed that an anonymous consulting firm was supporting the operations of Soko Lending Company, an online lending platform.

The media report triggered the NDPB investigation, The PUNCH has learned.

The NDPB National Commissioner said, “We got a lead that a big consultancy firm in Nigeria is working with them and we are trying to go against that as well. We are investigating this.

He revealed that there is a joint committee, which includes government agencies such as the National Information Technology Development Agency, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Independent Commission on Corruption and Other Related Offences, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Police. , the Nigerian Communications Commission and the NDPB.

According to the national commissioner, this committee intends to introduce a regulatory framework for loan applications in the country. He said, “The good news is that we now have a joint national committee made up of many federal government institutions, such as NITDA, NDPB, FCCPC, ICPC, Nigeria Police, CBN and NCC. We are doing a joint collaboration to look at this issue. The CBN will address it from the side of the financial sector regulator. The ICPC will look at the financial crime perspective. NITDA will look at it from a technology perspective. The NDPB will review it from a privacy and protection perspective. CNC will look at it from a telecommunications perspective.

“So we are looking at the regulations and the technology, and trying to release a framework, which we are going to release shortly to guide them so that they don’t just take advantage of Nigerians,” he said.

In August last year, NITDA sanctioned Soko Lending Company Limited, with a fine of N10 million for invasion of privacy.

NITDA said it found that Soko Loan breached the use of the non-compliant privacy notice contrary to Sections 2.5 and 3.1(7) of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations.

In March this year, the FCCPC, alongside the ICPC, NITDA and the Nigerian Police raided some online lenders operating in Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos.

Among the financial institutions affected were GoCash, Okash, EasyCredit, Kashkash, Speedy Choice and Easy Moni.

The FCCPC also said it froze no less than 30 bank accounts operated by the illegal lenders.

Commission Executive Vice President Babatunde Irukera also said the commission had engaged Google and Apple Stores to remove some loan applications from their stores, noting that certain processes were required for this to happen.

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