A Professor of African History at Vanderbilt University, US, Moses E. Ochonu has narrated painfully how some staff of Diamond Bank, Kaduna South Branch tried to use delay tactics to con him of his hard earned money he wired home to his family due to urgent need.
He wrote down his frustration which forced many other people to share their painful experiences in the hands of criminal elements in some of the banks in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the public exposure forced the bank to act swiftly.
“Diamond Bank of Fraud?
This afternoon I have a massive grouse against Diamond Bank. Some of its officers are angling to fraudulently appropriate my hard-earned money.
I sent some money from my Nigerian bank account to my brother through his account in Diamond Bank to take care of some urgent family problems. Unknown to me, that type of account is not meant to receive “large” (their word to my brother, not mine–never mind that the amount in question is not even large) deposits. Which raises the question: if that type of account cannot receive “large” deposits, as they say, why the heck did my transfer go through successfully? Why did Diamond Bank not simply reject the transaction? At any rate, the transaction went through and my account was debited.
When I called my younger brother to ask if he got an alert, he said he had not. He then went to Diamond Bank’s Kaduna South branch where he has his account. That’s when the fraudulent folks at Diamond Bank unveiled their elaborate scheme to hold on to my money. First they told him to go home, that the money would return to my account in 48 hours. When that didn’t happen, he returned there. He asked them to check his account. He saw a manager (or someone higher than a teller) who checked his account and told him that the money was not in it but that since the transfer went through, I should contact my bank to request a recall.
I promptly did that, calling my bank’s customer care number in their Lagos HQ using expensive international calling credits. They requested the recall. Since these events began two weeks ago, I have called my bank four more times, and they told me each time that they sent reminders to Diamond Bank and that they had not heard anything back. Apart from sending reminders, there was nothing they could do, they said.
Meanwhile, in Kaduna, my folks have been going to Diamond Bank to no avail. They told my brother to bring documentary evidence of the transfer. I sent a screen shot of my account’s transfer transactions page, which clearly indicates the transfer to my brother’s Diamond Bank account. My brother printed it and took to the bank.
They kept playing their usual games. My folks were passed around from one desk to another, each one confirming that indeed the funds were with Diamond Bank. They will not give the money to my brother but will return it to my bank account, they said. This was fine with me and my folks. But then the Diamond Bank folks introduced yet another nonsense, saying that my brother should go to my bank’s Kaduna branch with the internet transfer printout and obtain a receipt. This made little sense but he obliged. He went to my bank but the official he saw did something even better. He picked up his phone and called his Diamond Bank counterpart in the Kaduna South Branch. He confirmed both my account and the transfer. After their conversation, he assured my brother that the Diamond Bank people will return the money to my account. Of course it didn’t happen.
Today, they saw another official at my bank who said he could not understand why the Kaduna South Diamond Bank people would not simply call their headquarters, obtain permission, and return the money to my account, something that should take less than 30 minutes. This ordeal has been going on for two weeks. The family problem that the money is supposed to take care of remains unsolved. My folks have gone to Diamond Bank four times, spending their money on public transportation.
It is clear to me at this point that the Kaduna South Diamond Bank people simply want to tire my folks out, frustrate them, and hold on to this money or simply pocket it for themselves, knowing full well that I do not live in Nigeria. My sister, who accompanied my brother to the bank a couple of times, told me that on one occasion the manager (or the official they were talking to) even angrily asked why they, instead of me, the owner of the originating account, was pursuing this matter. Imagine! And he knew from the get go that not only do I not have an account with them, I do not live in Nigeria.
For my part, I called my bank again this morning and told them that they had to escalate this matter on my behalf instead of merely sending reminders to Diamond Bank that are never replied. I suggested that their inter-bank department pick up a phone and call their counterpart in Diamond Bank and resolve the matter to ensure the immediate return of my money.
The Diamond Bank people are up to no good and must be called out.
I realize that Nigerian banks are going through a hard time after years of abandoning core banking operations to chase government deposits, to make fraudulent loans, to package dubious investment instruments, to participate and profit from Forex round tripping, and to perpetrate other shady schemes that are now more difficult with the implementation of TSA and the ongoing recession. But that is not a reason to hold on to my money or to attempt to appropriate it. It’s not a reason to unethically try to detain other people’s funds.
If you have stories like this, please share so that, together, we can shame Diamond Bank and any other Nigerian bank whose officials may be engaging in these shenanigans.”
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