First Bank of Nigeria has admitted that N68m belonging to Italy-based customer, Glory Omokaro was withdrawn from her account.
The bank admitted the fraud case on Monday after the victim reported the case to the popular Radio Programme, Brekete Family.
First Bank said, “We confirm the report of fraudulent activity on the account of one of our customers. This incident has been undergoing a very robust investigation since our receipt of the customer’s complaint with the goal of holistically unearthing what transpired and addressing the challenge, including satisfying the customer. Unfortunately, this has taken longer than anticipated.
“While the investigation is ongoing, we have repaired the customer’s account given the findings so far and our view that this is the best action in consideration for our customer. We regret any inconveniences this may have caused the customer and wish to emphasize that this incident is in no way reflective of the principles and ethics of our time-tested operations.”
Omokaro had traveled to Italy in 2005. She returned in 2013 to visit her family and opened a savings account with First Bank at the Ring Road Branch in Benin City, Edo State.
When she traveled back to Italy, where she was based, Omokaro deposited money into the First Bank accounts and was allegedly in touch with the branch manager, Mr Gabriel.
In 2018, during another visit to Nigeria, the victim subscribed to the bank application to enable her to track her transactions from Italy.
She also applied for a debit card, which she used to perform transactions during her stay. When she returned to Italy, Glory said her account was not tampered with until 2021, when her ATM allegedly expired.
Glory contacted the same bank manager, Gabriel, to help renew her debit card. According to her, the manager gave her the option of sending someone or coming in person to renew the card.
Glory said due to Covid-19 restrictions, she could not return. However, she returned in May 2023 and visited the bank branch to withdraw and also renew her card.
She was told in the bank that she had no money in her account with the bank.
“I met customer care and I was told that I only have N3,000 in my account and not N68m,” Peter Uvieruve, who spoke for the victim said.
She said she requested for the bank statement but the bank declined to release the statement to her.
She however, requested for the statement through a lawyer who wrote the bank. “The statement was released one week later,” Peter said.
“We discovered that on 13, October 2022, they moved N51.7m out of the account. They returned the money. We suspected that they were checking if she would complain. But she did not notice. After 24 days around November 2022, they withdrew three times from the account. The first was N9m, then N5m, N2m and another N2m until it was left with N3,000.
“We contacted, EFCC said they were only after Yahoo boys for now. We contacted the DSS and they declined. The lawyer also started behaving as though he was compromised,” he said.