ATM FRAUD VICTIMS SLAM N50BILLION SUIT ON CBN, UBA, ACCESS, INTERSWITCH, OTHERS | Bizness Watch

ATM FRAUD VICTIMS SLAM N50BILLION SUIT ON CBN, UBA, ACCESS, INTERSWITCH, OTHERS

 

The victims of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) fraud will soon have a sigh of relieve as a suit seeking a court order to compel the Central Bank of Nigeria and four other banks to pay N50 billion to all victims of unauthorized withdrawer of their monies through the ATM has been filed at the Federal High Court of Lagos. Respondent in the suit are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), United Bank for Africa, Union bank PLc, Bank PHB  Plc now Keystone Bank; Intercontinental Bank Plc, merged with Access Bank Plc; and a company engaged in the business of electronic transaction  and switching the payment processing, Interswitch limited. Plaintiff are Daba Bright West, Nwajiagah  J. Omoeruo, Sydney Nduka Aguwamba and Tochukwu Onyinke, suing jointly and severally, and representing all victims of unauthorized withdrawer of money through ATM. In a statement of claim filed before the court by Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) on behalf of the Plaintiffs, it was averred that the defendant banks, sometimes in 2007, introduced the automated teller machine, called ATM, which enable customers to transact business with the bank without going into the banking hall, even when the banks are closed at the weekend, thus making it possible for customers to electronically transfer or withdraw money. The plaintiff averred that at different times the individual went to make withdrawers from ATM machines, but were denied of the services due to non availability of funds, despite the fact that each of their accounts funds in excess of N400,000. The first plaintiff, Daba Bright-West, on March 19, 2009, went to make withdrawer at Union Bank, Tin- Can Island branch, Lagos with her ATM card but could not do so. Thereafter, she approached the cashier in the bank, who told her she had no fund in the account because a lot of transaction has been made. But the woman was astonished hen she was shown that the sum of N405, 000, has been withdrawn from her account without her consent. Thereafter, she wrote series of letter to the bank, but the bank refuse to make a formal response. In the case of Nwajiagah Omeruo, said  he lost N427, 500 in the same circumstance through UBA, while Tochukwu Onyinke, in the course of running his account with Bank PHB, discovered that an unauthorized and illegal withdrawal of N200, 000 had been perpetrated on his account. Another victim, Sidney Nduka Aguwwamba equally lost N400, 000 to ATM fraudsters from his account with Intercontinental Bank Plc, now swallowed by Access Bank. The plaintiffs conclude that they have jointly lost over N2.5 million to ATM fraud, but the total loss from ATM fraud in the country is over N50 billion. ATM fraud victims further alleged that the illegal withdrawers were made possible due to the negligence on the part of these banks and in connivance with the member of their staff. Consequently, the plaintiff are claiming the sum of N50 billion as general damages and N100 million as a cost of legitimate. They are also seeking a declarative order from the court that the banks are jointly liable to the plaintiffs. In another development, users of ATM in the country have the attention of the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi Lamido to their sad experiences in a bid to withdraw their money through the automated system. They alleged that on many occasions the ATM machines, after completing the process refuse to dispense the required amount, rather it would return their cards, and when the withdrawer checks the balance, the amount which was not dispense is deducted from the victims account. This practice it was alleged in very prevalence at the Access Bank, which according to an insider has loads of complaints at all its branches, including the branch headquarters. Access Bank customers also frown at the lukewarm attitude of the management of the banks towards resolving the issue as some complaint take up to two weeks before customer’s money could be refunded. ‘’with their so called electronic payment system, the only thing this bank has done is to constantly steal people’s money with the aid of their staff as they withdraw money from your account through the ATM  (even above the daily withdrawer limit) and they say it’s the work of criminals’’, a victim of the fraud noted.




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