Lagos - Nigeria’s Consul-General in South Africa Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke on Sunday said the Federal Government lost $39,370 (about N10.9 million) as visa and passport fees at processing centres.
Okeke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Johannesburg, South Africa, that the Online Integrated Solutions (OIS), a firm processing passport and visa on behalf of the Nigeria Immigration Service abroad, reported the loss to the consulate.
‘’Evidence shows a recent compilation of 254 online payment fraudulent reversals of passport applications, which occurred between April and June, 2016.
“These acts were done by Nigerians to defraud their government,” she said.
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Okeke said the acts were perpetrated through banks.
She said the South African banking system allowed anyone with a credit card to reverse such payment, if there was a complain, within 30 days.
“Unfortunately, some Nigerians in South Africa have perfected the act of defrauding the Federal Government by going to the banks to report loss or fraudulent use of such cards and the banks will reverse the payment,” she said.
The consul-general said “because of speed in service delivery accorded Nigerians by the consulate at the instance of the Federal Government, the passport would have been produced”.
According to her, Nigerians will pay online; collect the passports within the stipulated 30 days with the passports in their pockets, go back to the bank and reverse the payments.
Okeke said it’s unfortunate some Nigerians defrauded the government through such acts in a foreign land.
“The consulate has compiled a list of those involved and sent to Abuja. The Nigeria Immigration Service will decide whether those passports will be cancelled or withdrawn,” she said.
She said the mission recorded 58 reversals of online visa payments between April and June, 2016.
The envoy added that South African visa applicants reported they paid a Nigerian agent to process for them.
“The Nigerian agent will collect cash from the applicants, use his credit card to pay and reverse the payment thereafter,” she explained.
She said the consulate was on top of the situation and that soon the Immigration Service would be advised on measures taken to deal with the situation.