Politician Arrested For Stealing From Crypto Exchange
by Oskar Trotman
The National Cybercrime Center of the Nigerian Police announced that they have identified politician Wilfred Bonse as one of the collaborators in a recent theft from Patricia Technologies. The police have arrested Bonse for conspiring to launder around 50 million naira from 607 million naira fraudulently diverted to his bank account via a cryptocurrency wallet. The list of criminal accusations includes illicit diversion of funds and unauthorized modification of network data.
Allegedly, Bonse has admitted to being involved in this crime, revealing that his bank account was used to facilitate the laundering $62,368 from the stolen $757,151.16. The other accomplices in the theft are on the run, but the police have stated they have specific suspects and are working on retrieving the stolen funds. Bonse was a candidate in the recent election for the gubernatorial position in Cross River State but failed to mobilize the support of local voters. On his Twitter account, Bonse describes himself as a financial consultant, philanthropist, and goodwill ambassador.
The hacking breach occurred in May 2023 and represented a serious blow to crypto exchange Patricia Technologies Limited, from which the company has still not recovered. The security breach resulted in the theft of digital assets valued at $2 million, creating a financial hole for the crypto platform.
Efforts to Repay Customers
The arrest of a culprit is an encouraging sign for Patricia’s executives and clients, however, the retrieved amount is only a fraction of the stolen funds. The crypto exchange has been working on repaying users, starting with a plan to reimburse clients by converting their balances into Patricia Token (PTK), a new cryptocurrency, and reimburse holders with 1 Tether (USDT) token for every PTK. The project encountered a few setbacks after attempts to secure funding from entrepreneurs did not go as planned.
Patricia Technologies did not deviate from its commitment to continue repayments in November through a batch format with a first-come, first-served system. However, a week after the November 20 date for repayment, several customers have yet to receive their funds, creating more pressure on the crypto exchange.
Nigeria Is a Crypto-Savvy Country
Blockchain usage in Nigeria continues to grow due to the weak local currency and rising inflation. The volume of transactions in Nigeria is rising by 9% a year, with $56.7 billion registered in the period between July 2022 and June 2023. For comparison, two other African countries with a large crypto usage are Kenya at $8.4 billion and Uganda at $1.6 billion in transactions for the same period, according to a report from an analyst firm Chainalysis.
Nigeria’s crypto awareness is at 99%, with 70% of the population having a grasp of the value and basics of blockchain technology. The government attempted to ban crypto transactions in 2021 by forbidding local financial institutions to handle crypto transactions. However, in 2022, the policies changed with a new set of regulations for digital assets, with a new attest to create a middle ground for crypto asset usage.