FG Freezes Over 30 Accounts Of Illegal Loan Companies

No fewer than 30 bank accounts operated by illegal loan organisations have been frozen by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

Executive vice chairman of the commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, who made this known yesterday, said the Commission has also engaged Google and Apple Stores to take down some loan applications from their stores, noting that there were certain processes required for that to happen.

Speaking said this at a media engagement in Abuja, Irukera revealed that the Commission was currently engaging three major loan companies whose businesses had been affected by the Commission’s raid.

“The day we conducted the raid, we have some limited information about the bank accounts that some of the loan companies operated.

“All the bank accounts that were provided were immediately blocked but these companies operate multiple bank accounts with multiple names.

“Between the time we raided and now, we have discovered additional 30 accounts and all these have been frozen and we will continue to freeze as we discover them.

“I am certain that with the actions that we have taken and the nature of the engagement we are having with the loan companies, atleast three of the major ones that their businesses have been severely affected by either our search or the account closure, they are modifying.

“It will take some time but I can assure you that the space is changing now,’’ he said.

Irukera called for improved partnership with the media to educate members of the public on their consumer rights in order to achieve the objectives of the FCCPC.

Meanwhile, the commission is also considering writing a regulation that will penalise companies without a standalone, clear and accessible consumer complaints resolution platforms.

Speaking on this, Irukera, frowned at the inability of most companies to effectively resolve consumer complaints, said the development had increased the number of complaints received by the Commission daily.

According to him, our complaint resolution team has become a multi-company customer service desk.

“The reason why people are coming to us more is that they can’t find the people who sold stuffs to them.

“There is no standalone, clear, accessible, well publicised resolution platforms by these companies for people to reach them.

“What we are doing is that we are going to write regulations, if you do not have that, there will be a penalty,’’ he said.

Irukera said the Commission was also developing a complaint resolution platform that would allow companies to plug in through a subscription and receive any consumer complaint relating to them.

“With your plugging in, as the system is, as complaint comes against you, it pushes it down to you and it is now your obligation to resolve it and we are seeing it.

“We will now start making them (companies) to pay a subscription since we created what they should have.

“Federal government should not be the one creating customer service platform for companies.

“We will make them pay a subscription to hook up and then when they do not resolve complaints on our dashboard, we will become secondary resolution mechanism and make them pay the cost of resolution,’’ he said.

On airfare increase, Irukera said the Commission was not empowered by the Act establishing it to regulate prices.

He said the Act provided that price gouging, exploitative, unreasonable, manifestly unjust terms including price were wrong but determining that price was unjust, unreasonable was a bunch of circumstances.

“We are not a price regulator, we are market regulator and only in limited circumstances that FCCPA provide any power to regulate price.

“It doesn’t give that power to the commission. It provides that limited circumstances upon clear market compelling reasons in certain sectors do FCCPC make the recommendation to the President.

“It is the President that will approve for price to be imposed or regulated and it must be gazetted and for a short period of time stating how long it will be.

“And the purpose of that regulation must be to promote competition or in a market where there is no competition and you need to regulate prices for a short period of time.’

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