The Federal Government of Nigeria has served supplementary orders to Apple’s Appstore and Google Play Store to take down more loan apps.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has also secured new freezing orders against accounts and financial institutions involved.
A statement by the CEO, Babatunde Irukera said the actions were in furtherance of the March 11 raid on certain digital money lenders in Lagos.
He said evidence procured from the locations led to further investigative activities, including additional discoveries that are material to the investigation.
FCCPC now has information about other money lending operators; account information associated with some of the companies; information about staffing and recruiting policies and strategies.
The agency found a “complex web of ownership or corporate relationships with mostly foreign/offshore companies and promoters; recognized and unknown payments systems, sources of operational capital, and methods of repatriating business proceeds.”
Irukera announced that certain operatives (including foreign nationals) of some operators have been interrogated.
The scope of questioning includes the commission’s continuing undercover surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.
It was discovered that one of the money lenders “corruptly secured a public official as an asset to assist with providing critical and sensitive internal confidential information about the investigation”.
FCCPC confirmed custody of credible evidence of the planning, discussions, meetings, execution (including tangible evidence of inducement), and participants in the “criminal enterprise”.
The statement said many conspirators have provided useful information and other evidence under caution, and with legal advice.
The commission is proceeding in contemplation and, or preparation of criminal charges and admissible evidence with respect to potential criminal defendants.
Meanwhile, some of the lenders under investigation, or whose bank accounts have been frozen, have agreed to assist the commission under the Investigative Cooperation/Assistance Rules and Procedure 2021.
They are expected to stop contacting people on contact lists/third parties of borrowers or defaulters; discontinue further abusive and inappropriate language in communication with loan defaulters or borrowers.
Such are further required to provide a mechanism for transparency regarding loan repayment fees, default or late payment charges as well as interest calculation to the government.
The FCCPC added that the mechanism must include open, accessible and responsive feedback and a dispute resolution framework that complies with fair lending and loan recovery principles.