News Column

Don Sues Banks for N55 Million Over Alleged Internet Fraud

August 12, 2014



A UNIVERSITY don and Consultant Orthodontist at the Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Dr.(Mrs.) Oluwatosin Sanu has dragged eight Nigerian banks before a Lagos High Court over alleged fraud on her bank accounts.

In a writ of summon filed by her counsel, Prof. Akin Ibidapo Obe, the claimant, an associate professor is asking for N55,050,237.54 as both special general and exemplary damages for alleged negligence in the handling of her two bank accounts with the first defendant bank.

According to the writ the claimant alleged that the negligence on her account by the first defendant bank resulted in unauthorized withdrawals of N3,050,237.54 from her two accounts through the internet and unauthorized payments into beneficiary accounts domiciled in the eight defendant banks.

The claimant is therefore asking for the cost of the action which she assessed at N2,000,000.00.

She also prayed the court for interest to be calculated on the lost sum at the prevailing rate as from September 6, 2013 to the date of judgment and thereafter on the judgment sum to the date of payment.

The writ of summons is supported by a 49 paragraph statement of claim and a 70 paragraph affidavit made on oath in support of the statement of claims.

In the writ, the claimant alleged that 20 unauthorized withdrawals totaling N2,580,693.25 was made from her current account with the first defendant, number 1002717118 between September 3, 2013 and September 6, 2013.

She further alleged that eight unauthorized withdrawals totaling N469,134.00 was also made from her Gold Savings account with the first defendant, number 2060668002 between August 23, 2013 and September 5, 2013.

The claimant averred in the statement of claim that following a petition on the matter dated October 30, 2013, made to the Nigerian Police, a thorough investigation was conducted into the alleged internet fraud on her two accounts.

The Police,she claimed issued a report ascribing the loss to negligence and collusion of the first defendant's servants.

The claimant stated that on August 10, 2013, she travelled to USA for a conference and vacation and that while she was there, received a call from her daughter, Dr.(Mrs.) Sope Akeredolu informing her that her bank account officer at the first defendant's bank, one Mr. Olatunbosun Alakija had been trying to reach her on phone without success.

She said that when he eventually got through to her on telephone, she was told that there were purported "transactions" going on in her bank accounts but that no details were given.

She claimed to have repudiated the transactions as not coming from her, more so that her cheque book and ATM card were with her in USA.

Immediately on her return from the USA, she met with her account officer and branch manager, Mrs. Patricia Ozukwe.

She said she was told that a total transfer of N3,050,237.54 had been made on her account to various purported beneficiary accounts through the bank's internet banking transaction.

The claimant alleged that the first defendant breached the duty of care owed her and was negligent in the management of her accounts when it facilitated such huge withdrawals without her knowledge and authorization.

According to her, the first defendant or its internet banking officer ought prudently and reasonably to have contacted her through telephone,sms or electronic mail for her authorization of the internet withdrawals particularly where huge sum was withdrawn from her two accounts through multiple transactions in one

day.

She stated for instance that N650,850.50 was withdrawn from her current account in six separate transactions in one day on September 4, 2013; that N660,992.25 was withdrawn from same account in seven separate internet transactions in one day on September 5, 2013 while in her Gold savings account, a sum of N451,567.00 was withdrawn in four transactions in one day on August 23, 2013 among other internet withdrawals.

The claimant averred that contrary to the statement of the accounts, the report of the Customer Fulfillment Centre(CFC) did not capture some of the purported withdrawal transactions.

The claimant said she wrote a formal letter of complaint dated September 17, 2013 to the manager of the Idi-Araba branch of the first defendant, repudiating the unauthorized purported transactions on her two accounts and asked for the reinstatement of the funds but that nothing was done on her request for refund.

She claimed that her solicitor also wrote to the managing director of the first defendant, copied the Idi-Araba branch, on the issue on September 26 consequent upon which the first defendant implored the claimant's counsel to stay action on the matter pending investigation into the allegations.

She averred that on October 3, 2013, the service manager of the first defendant , one Mr. Johnson Onyiriuka rather sent an electronic mail directly to her that her "issue" (complaint) had been "closed" adding that the first defendant breached its duty of care owed her by sending the said electronic mail dated October 3, 2013.

It said that the email communication of the Service Manager caused the claimant to needlessly undergo pain, suffering and trauma that her loss was irreversible adding that it was also "deliberate and contrived to intimidate the claimant into abject submission and to accept her fate".

She averred that her counsel again attempted to work out an amicable resolution by writing another letter dated October 28, 2013 to the Manager of the Audit and compliance unit of the first defendant requesting him to intervene but that no response has been received from the unit up till the present day.

She stated that this development informed the petition sent to the Deputy Commissioner of Police,State Criminal Investigation Division(CID), Panti to investigate the matter. Hearing date is yet to be communicated to the parties.


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Source: AllAfrica


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