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President orders bank to return money lost in fraud to complainant

arif alvi

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has upheld a banking mohtasib’s decision ordering a private bank to return money lost in fraud to a complainant.

Upholding the orders of banking mohtasib to pay an amount of Rs800,000 to the complainant, the president, in his decision, stated that the bank could not escape the liability in a case of this kind when the commission of fraud with the account holder by its management was established and admitted.

He said that ample opportunity has been provided to the bank before the banking mohtasib to defend and controvert the claim of the complainant and even before the forum, however, the bank had failed to discharge the burden and statutory liability cast upon it under the law.

According to the details, the complainant Muhammad Danish Naseem maintains an account with the Soneri Bank Ltd Sargodha Road Branch, Sheikhupura. Danish opened his account on 22-10-2018 in the bank branch and requested the manager to deposit Rs2 million cash in the said account.

The manager gave him deposit slips of Rs500,000, Rs900,000, and Rs600,000 respectively. Despite the insistence of the account holder for issuing a single deposit slip of Rs2 million, the bank manager issued three deposit slips, saying that it was to overcome the restrictions of the State Bank of Pakistan.

Later, the account holder wanted to draw money from his account but there was no sufficient balance in his account. He lodged a complaint with the bank’s authorities but his grievance was not addressed.

Although the complainant possessed valid deposit slips admittedly issued by the ex-manager bearing his genuine signature and branch stamp affixed thereon which validated the customer’s claim to the extent that the bank had not accounted for amounts of Rs2 million in his account.

Furthermore, the bank had admitted during the proceedings before the Banking Mohtasib that the receipts in possession of the customer bore signatures of the bank’s ex-manager. Despite all these proofs, the complainant was compelled to run from pillar to post and no relief was provided to him. Feeling aggrieved, Danish Naseem approached the banking mohtasib for his grievance.

The banking mohtasib, under Section 82 D of the BCO read with Section 9 of the Federal Ombudsman Institutional Reforms Act, 2013 (No. XIV of 2013), advised the bank to forthwith make good the loss by crediting the account of the complainant with a sum of Rs800,000 in pursuance of the findings. While rejecting the representation of the bank, the president has noted that it is a case of wrongdoing and maladministration by the bank officials and it is, therefore, responsible to make good the loss of the complainant.

He further stated that the ambit and extent of jurisdiction of Banking Mohtasib were spelled out under Section 82A (3)(a)(e), Section 82B(4)(5) and Section 82F of the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962.

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