PHOTO: Angella Namatovu, latest Equity Bank Uganda victim
● Namatovu Angella whose money saved in Equity Bank was withdrawn without her consent vows to expose this bank
● CID Headquater operatives at Kampala Metropolitan Police pick up the matter
● Worried public demands intervention of Bank of Uganda and Financial Integligence Authority (FIA)
NEWS EDITOR MEDIA
FOLLOWING complaints by Ms. Namatovu Angella, a client of Equity Bank Uganda whose hard earned money was withdrawn from her account without her consent, operatives from Criminal Investigations Department Headquaters Kibuli and Kampala Metropolitan Police have picked interest in this fraudulent scandal as more clients fall victim!
CID Headquarter in Kibuli is overwhelmed by complaints from clients banking with Equity Bank Uganda who are facing similar cases of fraud like that of Namatovu Angella.
“We have a number of fraud cases similar to that of Namatovu Angella concerning withdrawal of Equity Bank clients’ money without there consent. It has become worse. Something is wrong and our teams are already investigating the matter.” An officer at CID Headquarters who prefered anonymity, revealed to the News Editor Media.
Yesterday, the Director Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters Kibuli received Namatovu’s complaint about loss of money totalling to UGX 5,126,421 from her Equity Bank Account no. 10101009543.
This independent News Website is reliably informed, Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) has also opened up a General Enquiry File on Ref: KMP GET 130/2022 about Fraudulent withdraw of cash to wit 5,126,421 from Account no. 10101009543 at Equity bank Uganda.
Public through their social media rants want Bank of Uganda and Financial Intelligence Agency to highlight Equity Bank Uganda and investigate escalating cases of fraud as clients money is being stolen by unknown fraudsters from their bank accounts.
Some clients believe, Equity Bank Uganda has not done enough to secure their money creating more fears that more clients will continue falling victims.
A case like that of Namatovu Angella is not new to Equity bank. Recently the management of Equity Bank Uganda was engaged in back-and-forth meetings to resolve several incidents where millions of money was mysteriously withdrawn from accounts of several customers.
According to media reports, 11 customers accused Equity Bank Uganda of not being helpful after their money went missing from their accounts. Its mobile banking service named Eazzy Banking, customers say is prone to hackers.
WHAT HAPPENED WITH NAMATOVU ANGELLA’S MONEY
Last week, Namatovu Angella was shocked when she reached Equity Bank Market Street Branch Nakasero in Kampala to withdraw money and have her mum flown to Nairobi for specialised treatment, only to find that her money totalling UGX 5,126, 421 had been withdrawn from her bank account no. 1010100909543 on June 18th and 20th 2022, without her consent!
With her family, Namatovu known as councilor in Kajjansi town council, Wakiso district has been fundraising for their bedridden mum Ms Tusiime Teddy who got an accident in February this year!
ANGELLA NAMATOVU’S STORY
“Today has been the most stressful day i have had this year. I have an account with Equity Bank from 2011 to date and I have been saving with them for quite some time but today’s morning i went to town at Equity Bank Energy Center (Market Street) branch and i was shocked on finding out my money was stolen.” Reads Councilor Angella Namatovu’s Facebook post.
She requested for a mini statement and it showed there have been withdraw transactions without her consent.
Her post reads, “When i tried to talk to Equity bank officials at Energy Centre branch, they seemed to have no knowledge about everything. I was told to go to the Operations Manager. When i explained everything that had happened to her, the only reply was i should wait for 45 days my money shall be put back to the account, the other issue she raised was that someone used the account to order for things through online transactions.”
Namatovu was not satisfied with this Equity Bank lady’s explanation because according to her, no one has access to her ATM card. Trying to ask of who, where and how the transactions took place, Equity Bank officials seemed not ready to reveal.
“So Equity Bank can’t trace who carried transactions using my bank account. Isn’t this total fraud? Someone should come to my rescue but these schemers want to spoil my plans of taking my mother for specialised medication.” Reads Namatovu’s post adding that, “I am very disappointed and with Equity bank no one is safe with them please check your accounts.” The public on reading the post on Angella Namatovu’s Facebook page about disputed withdraw of her money on her account in Equity Bank, some faulted her for banking with Equity, a bank they allege to have issues with clients’ money.
Whereas others demanded that Bank of Uganda and Criminal investigations Department bring Equity bank to book and be invesitigated for cases in regard to clients’ complaints about how their money disappears from their bank accounts and the managers act less concerned.
Although Equity Bank asked Namatovu to be patient as they investigate this matter, public thinks this bank is just buying time, that it is exactly the same story they have been giving to other clients with similar cases.
While responding to Namatovu’s facebook post, Equity Bank Uganda wrote, “Hello Angel, thank you for writing to us. We are so sorry to hear about this. We would like to know more about it and follow up on your dispute filed at the branch. Please inbox us your contact details so we can engage on call and support further. Waiting to hear from you.”
However Namatovu replied, “I was at the bank yesterday and they said i will get back the money with in 45 days and now again the operations manager Energy center when i went back today to file my complaint arrogantly bragged saying I should forget about that money because they are not responsible for the safety of my money.”
This annoyed the public that chose to rant against and curse Equity Bank.
HOW PUBLIC REACTED AGAINST EQUITY BANK
Tendo Kristen: If they didn’t have any knowledge about disappearing money, they would definitely dig up to see where the problem is, but since they are beating around the bush, they really know why and how your money disappeared.
Kamugira Robert: The truth is, that bank has issues with their system.
Nyachwo Brenda : You have to go to police. This happened to my friend last year. UGX 15 million went missing after saving for two years. You are not the first person but just involve the police. She got it back after one month but if it wasn’t for police and showing up at Equity unannounced, may be she would have given up. Don’t wait for 45 days, that’s too long. The money is used by those bankers themselves and they pretend like they don’t know. This is exactly her story, someone buying airtime from her money, getting a loan and purchasing things online. Even after they deposited, before she withdrew all, 700k again disappeared just like that.
Racheal Abigail Kyalisima : Equity bank has had too many of these complaints!!
Kizza Gloria Rachael : Dont wait for the 45 days. Nothing will be done. Go and camp at the Equity bank until they put back your money. With financial institutions, if you dont persist, you will be robbed. Carefully cause commotion until they listen to you.
Mukisa Kabigumiremu Francisco : U need to make a statement with police as well as also getting a serious lawyer as early as possible because you never know, you may find even you are not the only person affected. May be they loaned your money to someone that is why you are being told to wait for 45 days may be that is when they are expecting to raise something to clear you up.
Ssemwogerere Mukiibi : Actually it also happened to me, my account had some saving on it, but after 3 years, my account couldn’t be traced and I never closed it. I traveled for almost 6 months without enough explanation and I gave up.
Deo Gracious Shar Ketyjo: Iam surprised that Ugandans still trust local Financial institutions, in this Country money should be kept in Apartments.
Evan Arinaitwe: They have killed my trust
Andrew Steven Mwalye: Equity Bank Uganda come here and explain this fraud you cause to customers. You have never stopped your habits but soon we are forcing you back to Nigeria
Nakitende Winnie Yiga : Oh God! A close relative warned me still with this bank. By the time she checked they had chopped UGX 1.5 in a month! Thought it was a joke but truth is I also fear making anymore deposits. They tosed her when she asked for a statement until she gave up.
Namugenyi Christine Kirabo : Am very disappointed with Equity Bank Uganda. I think this is one of the reasons as to why they force us to open accounts with them. Let’s pray for you sister(Namatovu) that they refund your money otherwise we shall get disgusted with the Bank.
Barbra Namakula: But Equity bank, sincerely how can you not able to tell how someone lost their money from their accounts, like how, you owe her an explanation before anything else. How did this money get off her account??? Please be transparent on this.
HOW ANGELLA NAMATOVU’S MONEY GOT MISSING FROM HER EQUITY BANK ACCOUNT
According to her complaint dated June 23, 2022 to the Operations Manager Equity Bank Market Street Branch about loss of her money from her Equity Bank account 1010100909543 totalling to UGX 5,126, 421, she said, “While opening up an account with your bank, you promised me safety of my money which made me sign all the relevant banking documents. I have always saved money on my account not until yesterday June 22, 2022 when i went to Equity Bank Energy Centre Market Street Branch to withdraw money so that I facilitate my mother’s operation in hospital.”
Ms. Namatovu said, she was shocked to find that money has been withdrawn from her bank account via VISA-ZazuAF without her consent.
“I have never heard about VISA-ZazuAF and while opening this bank account, I didn’t apply for it. On the same note, while opening this account I requested for messages in case of any deposit and withdraws from my account. And I have always received them. But how comes that in this case, I did not receive any messages for the withdraws of this money?” Angella Namatovu asked Equity Bank Operations Manager.
In line with the above, her account was supposed to possess a total of UGX 16,386,473. However, on June 18, 2022, at around 4pm, a total of UGX 2,330,191 was withdrawn and also on June 20, 2022 at around 10am another UGX 2,330,091 and also UGX 466,039 was withdrawn via VISA-ZazuAF.
She insists, has never exposed her ATM to any one nor ever used her ATM Visa card.
“I signed that i cant withdraw beyond UGX 500,000 a day using my ATM. How come that such monies have been withdraw on single days? I request that all my money totalling up to UGX 16,386,473 be put back on my account to help me meet hospital bills for my mother’s operation.” Reads Angella Namatovu’s complaint which was copied to: Dr. Michael Atingi-Ego (Acting Governor Bank of Uganda), Director Financial Institutions Bank of Uganda, Director Deposit Protection Fund of Uganda, The Commander Kampala Metropolitan Police, CPS and her lawyers of M/s Mutungi & Co. Advocates.
EQUITY BANK’S DEFENCE
In a response to Angella Namatovu dated June 28th 2022 from Equity Bank and signed by Jael Christine Wawulira, Head Customer Experience, over 3 disputed online transactions on account 1010100909543 totalling to UGX 5,126,421, performed on June 18th and 20th of 2022, Bank said it had concluded its preliminary investigations into the matter.
Below is a summary of their key findings regarding the said transactions;
● The three transactions were conducted online using your debit card number 4860xxxx9407 via Zazu Africa Limited (merchant) website.
● The merchant website is categorized as 3D secure and fully complies with the VISA security protocols. I.e, every transaction is authenticated with the card number, customer verification value (CVV) and transaction One Time Pin (OTP) which is delivered to the card owner’s telephone number.
● Other investigations established that all the three requirements were fulfilled for the transactions to be completed and that every transaction was authenticated with a One Time Pin (OTP).
● Subsequently, to your feedback that you didn’t receive the OTPs and transaction confirmation messages, the Bank contacted your Telecom Service Provider (MTN) who confirmed that the OTPs were delivered to your telephone number 267 788 286 750.
In light of the above findings, the Bank has escalated your complaint to the VISA team for further investigation and asked them to provide further details of the disputed transactions including but not limited to; the type of goods/services that were purchased, the address and telephone number of the beneficiary.
Please note that, this process takes a period of 45 days within which, VISA will respond. VISA is a world wide digital payments company providing transactions between consumers, merchants and banks and other financial institutions.
Considering the above, we request you for your patience until the Bank receives the above information to provide us with a basis for further action.
GAPS IN EQUITY BANK’S DEFENCE
● The telephone number 267 788 286 750 which Bank says MTN confirmed that the OTPs were delivered to, does not belong to Angella Namatovu and it is not a Ugandan phone number. Let Equity Bank and MTN clear the air, who is the owner of that number they sent message to on withdrawing Namatovu’s money.
● In an audio recording, an MTN Customer care staff first denied ever sending message to Namatovu when money was being withdrawn from her bank account account. In fact she clearly said, “No transaction was made with you account on 18th and 20th June 2022. How come, after Equity engaging MTN, the same telecommunication company make a print out showing messages were sent to Namatovu yet she never received any? Could there be a conspiracy that money on your account can be withdrawn and your telecomunication company does not send you a message to alert you?
● If such a bank can’t trace who withdraws money from their Client’s bank accounts within a short period and needs almost 2 months, how safe is peoples’ money?
● Equity Bank in some of their customer care calls to Namatovu said, money was withdrawn using ATM yet in other calls, they said it was an online transaction! When did this bank start operating on guess work?
● At first, Equity Bank customer care told Namatovu, with online transactions you don’t receive messages but later changed statement and said, MTN sent her messages and on reaching there, MTN denied until they were engaged with Equity Bank. Dont you think this is why public is sensing fraud?
● How authentic is that message you showed Namatovu that its from a website showing the transactions? What if its forged?
● Equity bank says, the one who withdrew Namatovu’s money was paying Zazu Africa for electrical materials. So the merchant can’t tell where these materials were delivered to for easy investigations? Is this what requires 45 days?
● From public reactions, it seems chopping clients’ money is a growing vice. So this powerful bank can’t trace the culprits? Won’t this kill public trust?
This is a developing story!
Do you have such experience with Equity Bank? Please email our editor on firstname.lastname@example.org