Bar owner in Lagos Ifeoma Okoli at war with bank over her missing N4.9m

Bar owner in Lagos Ifeoma Okoli at war with bank over her missing N4.9m

- A bar owner in Lagos, Ifeoma Okoli, has confronted a new generation bank over her missing money allegedly withdrawn from her bank account without her permission

- Okoli said the missing sum, N4,935,000 got missing in December 2017, when she received a text message alerting her on the balance in her account

- In response, the bank said that Okoli, contrary to her claims, made withdrawals more than once with the same account

A bar owner, Ifeoma Okoli (38 years) has claimed that N4,935,000, has been illegally withdrawn from her bank account.

Okoli said that despite the fact that she did not use an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card on the account, most of the withdrawals were made through the ATM, adding that she did not get any alert after the transactions.

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Punch reported that Okolie learnt about the fraud in December 2017, after she received a text message alerting her of the balance in her account.

She said because the amount in the text message did not tally with her account balance, she visited a branch of her bank at Ifako-Agege to report the development. She said that she had visited the bank several times all to no avail.

She said: “I was shocked when I received the text message. When I saw what was left in my account, I felt like killing myself because that was my entire life savings. I hardly withdraw from the account because I save there for future use. That was why I never requested an ATM card for the account.

“I was accompanied by my friend, Ada, when I opened the account and since I opened it, I withdrew through the counter only four times. The total amount I withdrew was N267,000. So, when the message came in, I complained at my branch at Ifako-Agege.

“I was told that I collected an ATM card and that the money was withdrawn with an ATM card. They even showed me a woman whom they claimed withdrew money from the account with my ATM card.

“I am 38 years old; I am not a baby. I don’t know the woman the bank showed me from anywhere and I am willing to defend my claims anywhere.”

It was gathered that Okolie’s lawyer, Mayowa Akinyemi, petitioned the bank on the missing money.

In the petition written December 2017, Akinyemi said “It is the brief of our client that since she opened her account with the bank in September 2015, she had never applied for an ATM card and she was not issued an ATM card in respect of this account.

“Our client informed us that the only time she withdrew money from her account was on August 15, 2016, from the Iju branch, which was N100,000.

“Our client informed us that she was shocked beyond words to discover a few days ago that a fraudster had been making withdrawals from her account using a Keystone Bank ATM card since 2015 and that more than N4m had been fraudulently withdrawn from our client’s account.

“Our client further informed us that she never received any debit alert on her phone in respect of all withdrawals made from her account by this unknown fraudster.” Akinyemi urged the bank to get to the root of the fraud and bring the perpetrators to book.

Punch gathered that the bank replied the petition, alleging that Okolie subscribed to an ATM card and made withdrawals with it, adding that it was not responsible for the alleged fraudulent withdrawals.

In a letter written in March 2018, the head of investigation and customers’ complaints, Nduka Iromenu, stated: “Our investigation revealed that Okolie Ifeoma Perpetual opened a savings account with number, 6019339780, in our Ifako-Agege, Iju Road branch on August 5, 2015.

“Your client also subscribed to ATM debit and mobile banking when the account was opened on August 05, 2015. Contrary to your assertion in your referenced letter that your client had never requested an ATM card, our records show that she signed and collected a Master card and PIN at our Iju branch on August 10, 2015.

“Furthermore, the first ATM transaction on the account was carried out on August 13, 2015 and thereafter, all other withdrawals from the account with the exception of a N100,000 cash withdrawal on August 25, 2015, were ATM transactions.

“We also confirmed that the Transaction Notification Service set up on your client’s account was designed for both debit and credit alerts and these alerts were sent to her registered telephone number 081057*** between August 2015 and July 11, 2016, and her subsequent telephone number 090636*** between July 12, 2016 and October 2017. By your own admission, your client also confirmed that she received credit alerts on her telephone number 090636***.”

Akinyemi asked the bank to provide evidence that the victim applied for the ATM card, adding that those who had been making withdrawals from the account should also be identified through the CCTV cameras on the bank premises.

Bolanle Osotule, the head, brand management, marketing and corporate communications, of the new generation bank, said that the woman was lying, and trying to be cunning.

She said: “When they showed her the picture of the person who withdrew the money, they asked her to bring the person who usually comes with her to the bank for transactions so that they could match the person’s face with that picture; she told them that the person was dead.

“They said she is not lettered and that the number of time they had met and discussed with her, she always had someone with her who was always piloting her statement.

“She said there was no evidence that she asked for an ATM card; that’s not true. What they said was that they are going to go to court. So, if they want to go to court, why are they going to newspaper houses? Why don’t they settle it legally?”

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The bank’s spokesman said she would get back to feed newsmen with more facts. She said: What I told you is just a verbal discussion I had with my internal team. I need to read the case file to tell you what really transpired. But when we told her to bring the person who usually comes with her when she comes for transactions, she refused to produce the person and said that the person is dead.”

Meanwhile, reported that the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos state command, had arrested a new generation bank worker, identified as Bunmi, for allegedly conniving with two others to hack into customers' account and steal the sum of N3 million. gathered that the fraud was uncovered after owners of the accounts complained about their disappearing funds which made the bank to institute a probe.

Bunmi allegedly hacked into several bank accounts of customers and diverted about N3 million into private accounts.

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