A friend of mine had an unfortunate run-in with a local Kenyan Bank some two years ago. After making an ATM withdrawal, she noticed that something was not right with the balance. Some Kshs.20,000/- was missing from her account. The withdrawal had been made like 2 weeks back and she was sure it was not her. She naturally went to complain inside the bank.
The teller she complained to, without even asking her any questions, immediately made her fill out ATM fraud forms. Sounding rather admonishing, he told her that the only way her money could have disappeared from her account was if someone else had access to her ATM card and PIN number. She explained to him that the only person who had access to her card was her husband and he couldn’t possibly withdraw money from her account without letting her know. From the way the conversation was going, the teller tried to lay the blame on her and her husband. He even cast doubt on trust levels between them by implying that that very husband might have withdrawn the money and was not being genuine. The guy was calling someone’s hubby a thief!
Anyway she filled the forms and was asked to wait for some time then go back and check. As soon as she went back to the office, she told the company account about it. He advised her to go back to the bank and request for her latest statement. To her shock she learnt from the statement that the missing money was not withdrawn via ATM. It was a cash withdrawal. And yet in over 4 years with that bank she had never made a cash withdrawal. That became a whole new ball game. She could even sense some panic in the teller. They apologized and said that it must have been a mis-posting. But still a cash withdrawal requires the national identity card and careful comparison of the client’s signature. Anyway, she decided to swallow that excuse, accept the apology and let the bank take care of it. And it did. In the space of half an hour her Kshs.20,000/- was back in her account.
All salaries for her office were channeled through that bank and she warned her colleagues to go and check their accounts. They rushed to ask for statements which the bank provides usually after six months. Anyone requiring one outside the six months is given at a fee. The results were shocking. Three more of her workmates had their funds missing. For two of them the money was withdrawn and then deposited back after a few days. All without their knowledge. A more unfortunate one had Kshs.15,000/- cash withdrawn from his account and not returned. This was no longer a mis-posting. There seemed to be a deliberate attempt by some employees at the bank to siphon client’s money. And in a very foolish way for that matter. Yet this was only one office. How many more clients spread all over the town had their money played around with?
My friend was lucky her case was sorted out immediately. But by the time her other colleagues filed their complaints, Central Bank of
As I write this the guy has never received his money back. He’s still waiting for judgment. The bank however within a very short time of this saga fired a lot of it’s employees including the manager. Others were transferred to other branches in the country. So obviously the game was bigger than the one employee who had to go to court as the accused. These days there’s only 2 old faces in the bank. All the rest are new.
This case leaves me wondering, how safe is our money? This is no small roadside bank by the way. It’s a big bank with branches countrywide. Second since it was obvious the money was withdrawn irregularly, shouldn’t the bank have paid first to reduce inconvenience to the client and then followed the case later?
And how safe is your cash in the bank?
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