FG orders Google and Apple to disable ‘illegal’ online banks and lending apps

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has ordered Google LLC (Play Store) and Apple Inc. (Apple Store) to disable unauthorized online banking and loan applications.

The federal government agency asked Google and Apple to remove apps when evidence established inappropriate conduct or use of the app in violation of consumer rights.

The agency also banned the acceptance and submission of new online banking and lending applications without regulatory review and approval.

This comes two days after the FCCPC, in conjunction with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, the National Information Technology Development Agency and the Nigerian Police, shut down some illegal financial institutions operating on Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos.

The decision was contained in a statement on Monday by FCCPC Executive Vice President/General Manager Babatunde Irukera for the Joint Regulation and Enforcement Task Force.

He said the order follows action taken by the Joint Inter-Agency Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force last Friday, which led to the closure of some online banks.

The statement read: “In addition, and pursuant to a Federal High Court order obtained and granted to the FCCPC, the JRETF has executed a search and seizure order on certain digital money lenders.

“As part of the operation, the JRETF, in conjunction with the Nigerian Police and the Bailiff of the Federal High Court, searched the premises of the money lenders, extracted valuable evidence and, in certain circumstances, prohibits or restricts continuous operations.

“In addition to the physical operation noted above, the Commission issued and served orders on several financial institutions freezing or suspending operations of certain accounts that some of the lenders used to conduct business or transactions involved making the subject of an investigation.

“In addition, the Commission has also entered and served sweeping orders on Google LLC (Play Store) and Apple Inc. (App Store) to enforce the removal of certain apps where evidence has established inappropriate conduct or use. of the application in violation of consumer rights.

“The Commission’s order also prohibits the acceptance and submission of new applications for the same purpose without regulatory review and approval.

“In the meantime, the Commission urges all companies that were subject to regulatory intervention on Friday 11 March 2022 to cease and desist from interest compounding and loan repayment/recovery practices that the subject of this investigation.

“In the event that any of these companies continue to engage in any of these conduct, or if the Commission receives credible evidence of it, violators will be subject to the full extent of the law, including prosecution without possibility regulatory administrative resolution.

“The Commission’s orders are without prejudice to existing borrowers who repay any legitimate loans on fair and acceptable terms; or any modification of the previous general conditions deemed onerous, incompatible with the law in force or the general principles of transparency and fairness.

“The obligation to comply with the foregoing extends to all agents, employees or agents of the companies concerned.

“The JRETF welcomes any useful information that may assist this investigation. The Commission/JRETF will continue to provide updates to the public and urges consumers to support the investigation by continuing to provide actionable information about people associated with the businesses or practices, their phone numbers and any other relevant information.

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