Feb 14, 2017

Doing Business In Nigeria: Dealing With Incidents Of Fraud | Hightower Lawyers

In business, there’s always a risk of being swindled, even when dealing with supposed ‘partners’, agents, distributors, vendors or contractors.
Some protection is afforded entrepreneurs, businesses, and businessmen within our laws. Several law enforcement agencies in Nigeria also do a fine job of administering these laws.

What fraud looks like?
Fraud comes in different forms such as unjust enrichment, sharp practices, conflict of interest or abuse of office and deceit.

It is unlawful enterprise or scheme in which a dishonest individual uses deception to get an unfair advantage over another. It could be under the guise of utilizing tricks directly, or fooling someone else in order to get access to their money.

How to React
It is best to collaborate with law enforcement agents. The complaint should be brought to their notice via a well written petition that chronicles all material events leading up to the loss or inconvenience suffered. When a contractor, partner or vendor unjustly enriches himself at the expense of another person, or deceives the same person, this should be reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies.

Why Lawyers?
By reason of their practice, experience and skill-set, they are well positioned to help victims of fraud when their services are sought. After consulting with the victim they render counsel on how best to address the situation i.e. instituting an action either in tort against the person(s) or as a criminal action.

How to involve Law Enforcement Agencies
Law Enforcement Agencies such as The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), The Independent Corrupt Practices (and Related Offences) Commission (“ICPC”) and The Nigerian Police Force (Special Fraud Unit) can be involved once the victim of fraud can show with evidence that he has been defrauded. A victim’s complaint must present a strong case for preliminary investigation.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
If an individual has been defrauded, the popular way of seeking redress is by filing a petition as an individual or an organization. Once this falls within the purview of the EFCC Act, an investigation will commence right away.

The Independent Corrupt Practices (and Related Offences) Commission (“ICPC”)
If anyone has been a victim of fraud, the process through which they can seek relief is by filing a petition at the Commission once they can show that the fraudulent act is within the ambit of the commission.

 The Nigerian Police Force (Special Fraud Unit)
The Nigerian Police Force (Special Fraud Unit) has a mandate to tackle cases of special fraud and has the following criteria to establish special fraud, namely:
  • The fraud in question exceeds N2,000,000;
  • There are Multiple victims of the suspected fraud; and
  • Other law enforcement agencies don’t have legal or financial capacity
Have you been a victim of fraud? Contact the relevant Law Enforcement Agencies or seek the services of a lawyer for legal advice and representation.

Hightower Lawyers 
Phone: +234 (0)70 1497 9879