Civil Servant Alleges Zenith Bank Collusion in N3million Transfer Theft

A civil servant Ayinde Oluwaseun says that he suspects insider collusion from Zenith Bank in the unexplained withdrawal of his Three Million Naira after he made a wrong electronic transfer on April 12, 2021.

Oluwaseun, who works with the Ogun state government, said he mistakenly transferred the sum of N3,000,200 to a wrong account.

“My intention was to transfer the amount to the Zenith Bank account 239****450 but I ended up transferring it to 239****405,” Ayinde said in the report originally published by the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ). Ayinde made the transfer his account kept with Guaranty Trust Bank.

Realising his mistake, Ayinde said he immediately contacted GTB bank via its online channels but did not get any response on time.

“The following morning, I quickly visited the GTbank branch in Ashero, Abeokuta, to request for help over the incident. I was however referred back to the bank’s customer care line, right there inside the branch.

“This time around, however, I was able to connect to the customer care line and I told the agent that attended to me about the erroneous transfer.

“There and then, the officer told me that they would work on my request and that I should not worry.”

The civil servant said he received a mail on the same night from his bank and he was assured something was being done on the case.

The victim said he discovered through sources that the Zenith Bank account he erroneously transferred the money to was low-tiered that is not allowed to receive such a huge deposit.

“It can only receive a lower sum. When I got to know this, I was a bit relieved. My thought was that it would be easy for Zenith Bank to get the money reversed back to me,” he reportedly stated.

Ayinde said he attempted a court order that would compel GTBank to recall the transfer from the recipient Zenith Bank account.

He was however unable to do so due to a strike by judicial workers at the time.

By the time the strike was over, Ayinde secured the needed court order but to his surprise Zenith Bank allegedly claimed it could no longer trace the money.

“They also claimed the money was also not in the account I claimed I sent it to,” he said.

Ayinde said he had confirmed based on his investigation that the money did get into the said Zenith Bank account following the transfer.

He said the recipient with Zenith Bank “withdrew the money within 24 hours.”

“As he was withdrawing from the counter within the bank premises, he was also withdrawing the money with his ATM card,” he said.

For such withdrawal to have been successful, Ayinde says he was “the Zenith Bank customer was assisted by an insider.”

He added: “I am sure he was advised to upgrade his account so he could withdraw the money successfully.”

“After this incident, GTBank and Zenith Bank began tossing me about. GTBank is claiming it sent a mail to zenith bank to assist with the issue. Zenith bank is claiming they did not get any notification from GTBank.

“It has been over a year and my money is still hanging. Both banks have refused to take responsibility on the issue. Please help me. I need my money back.”

According to CBN Guidelines on Instant (Inter-Bank) Electronic Fund Transfer Services, the recipient bank (in this instance, Zenith Bank) has an obligation to helping Ayinde recover his money. Based on the guidelines, the bank is required to notify the recipient of the transfer and to make moves geared at recovering the money. Where such recipient is unwilling to make the refund, the CBN mandates the receiving bank to place a lien on the account.

Moreover, the CBN guidelines provides further consumer protection instructions on the handling of such matter. It states: “Where the contested beneficiary (of a customer-inspired error transfer) has utilized the fund such that lien could not be placed, and he/she refuses to fund the beneficiary account to facilitate refund, the Receiving Entity’s Internal Auditors shall watch-list the customer’s BVN and the Sending Entity may report the incident to law enforcement agencies.”

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