Nigeria Loses Billions Through Identity Fraud

..As Ghana Sleeps On Its Identity Process

By Cecil Mensah

As Ghana struggles to put it’s identity process in order to create a National Indentity (ID) database to help expunge banking fraud and other crimes related identity fraud, Nigeria lost billions through identity fraud.

This paper has learnt Nigeria has lost $1.12 billion in bank fraud due to identity fraud, because its agency like the National Identity Authority (NIA),did not move fast enough to get Nigerian ID and database, so banks created their own biometric database and verification .

This came to the fore at a conference held in Switzerland where officials of Identity Management Systems (IMS), a subsidiary of Margins Group, presented a paper on Ghana’s identity process.

Identity Management systems (IMS), a wholly owned Ghanaian company, has said it has drawn up a proposal to transform the Ghanacards at the cost of the company to address the delays in the issuance of the cards, which the Government of Ghana (GoG) has spent millions on.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Joseph Iroko, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IMS said, as part of the Public Private Partnership (PPP), NIA would be taken off the Government subvention.

He said as part of the PPP, IMS would pay an annual license fee of two million Dollars to NIA, and the arrangement went through an approval process, that involved a multitude of stakeholders including, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security secretariat, Ministry of Finance, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ministry of
Interior, Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and the Ministry Justice and Attorney-General’s office, before approval was given.

He maintained that the current data at NIA contains data that captures eight fingers, but the newly developed smartcards captures all ten finger prints and it encompasses all data fields used by all stakeholders, especially for crime detection in the country.

He added that the new cards enable NIA to satisfy the compliance of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He explained that the objective of the arrangement was to transform NIA into a self-sustaining institution; weaned off the Government subvention and still be able to deliver on its core mandate of registering Ghanaians and non -Ghanaians.

As part of the arrangements, an amount of five hundred thousand Dollars was advanced to NIA, he said.

He stressed that IMS, has not taken a single pesewa from Government, but has rather invested its own time and resources to delivering cards to all foreigners and
Ghanaians as whole

He said, as part of the PPP arrangement, IMS has generated over one million Dollars under the FIMS project of registering fifty thousand foreigners living in the country.

He said data available as part of the registration of foreigners has it that there over fifteen thousand foreign students representing one hundred thirty-four different countries.

He added Chinese nationals are in the majority followed by Nigerians who have failed in renewing their registrations since the project started two years ago.
In a related development, Mr Josiah Cobbah, the Acting Executive Director of NIA, joined by its Board Chairman, Mr Larry Adjetey ,disclosed at a press conference that there was nothing untoward about the PPP arrangement and admitted the arrangement has brought life into the operations of the company.

He said the contract with IMS, had Parliamentary approval involving the following stakeholders: National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA),Ghana Statistical Service, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and Financial Intelligence Centre(FIC).

The rest are Bank of Ghana (BoG), Birth and Death, Free Zones Board, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Controller and Accountants General Department.

He said, it was difficult for all these companies to pass the company, when there was a problem with the contract.

He denied the rumour making the rounds that Chinese Exim bank loan was used for the issuance of the smart cards.

According to him, the loan was for the infrastructure of NIA, and not for the issuance of cards as being speculated in the media.

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