FG To Probe Firm for Supporting Online Loan Sharks – NDPB
The Federal Government, through the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, says it is investigating the involvement of an unnamed consulting firm for supporting the illegal activities of some online lenders in Nigeria.
The National Commissioner of the bureau, Dr Vincent Olatunji, disclosed this in an interview with The Punch that “We got a lead that one major consulting firm in Nigeria is working with them and we are trying to go against that one too. We are investigating it.”
Recall that a media report in May had revealed that an unnamed consulting firm was backing the operations of Soko Lending Company, an online lending platform , this report was said to have prompted the investigation by the NDPB.
Olatunji disclosed 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 Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force, 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 national joint committee of a lot of Federal Government institutions, such as NITDA, NDPB, FCCPC, ICPC, Nigeria Police, CBN and the NCC. We are doing a joint collaboration to look at this issue.
“The CBN will approach it from the part of the regulatory body for the financial sector. The ICPC will look at the perspective of financial crime. NITDA will look at it from the perspective of technology. NDPB will look at it from the perspective of privacy and protection. NCC will look at it from the perspective of telecommunication.
“So, we are looking at regulations and technology, and trying to issue a framework, which we are going to issue 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 N10m for privacy invasion.
NITDA said it found Soko Loan to be in violation of the use of the non-conforming privacy notice, contrary to Article 2.5 and 3.1(7) of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.
In March this year, the FCCPC, alongside ICPC, NITDA, and the Nigerian Police Force raided some online lenders operating on Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos.
Among the financial institutions affected were GoCash, Okash, EasyCredit, Kashkash, Speedy Choice, and Easy Moni.
The FCCPC also said it had frozen no fewer than 30 bank accounts operated by the illegal loan organisations.
Babatunde Irukera , the Executive Vice Chair of the Commission, added that the commission had engaged Google and Apple Stores to take down some loan applications from their stores and that there were certain processes required for that to happen.
Source: The Punch