K2 million disappears from farmer’s bank account   

A farmer who sold maize and deposited the proceeds at First Capital Bank was shocked when he later went to the bank to find that K2 million had disappeared from his account.

The story of Mr Kitmass Ngoleka, a farmer from Lumbadzi in Lilongwe, was told by activist Onjezani Kenani on his Facebook page this morning.

According to Kenani, on 14 January 2020, after selling his maize, Ngoleka decided to open a bank account at First Capital Bank (FC), in Lilongwe’s City Centre.

Ngoleka had been bombarded by numerous adverts on the radio, which said that keeping money at the bank is the wisest thing to do and he settled on First Capital Bank.

In the course of one year, he made deposits – no withdrawal, only deposits – nine in total, and by 4 December 2020, his balance was K2,021,985.34. All the money was from selling his maize.

“Then on 5 December, something at the bank happened, according to the bank statements he has shown me. His money disappeared!

“On the date the money disappeared, Mr. Ngoleka did not know anything. He was home, waiting, like everyone else, for Christmas. In fact, because of his lack of knowledge about what had happened, he sent his brother, Charles, at the beginning of January 2021, to deposit K100,000, and then his sister, Edna, to deposit K500,000,” wrote Kenani.

Later, one of Ngoleka’s sisters wanted to borrow about K600,000, to inject capital in her business.

For the first time, Mr. Kitmass Ngoleka decided to go to the bank to withdraw the money.

In the banking hall, the first thing he wanted to do was to know the balance. The teller wrote down the number: K621,500.61.

The figure shocked Ngoleka and he was told to get a bank statement for K6,000.

The bank then printed Ngoleka’s statement which showed that about K2 million had been siphoned out of his bank account using Airtel Money numbers: +265 995 727 359; +265 995 798 051; +265 997 476 978; +265 995 276 446.

The withdrawals surprised Ngoleka because for a bank account to be linked to an Airtel Money account, a person has to sign a form at the bank, which Mr. Ngoleka never did and he never made even a single withdrawal.

The bank advised him to go to the police but the police only got his statement.

“After that, he went back to the bank, went to Airtel, went back to the bank, nothing. The bank has told him it will do nothing about it, and he can go anywhere in the world to complain.

“He withdrew the K615,500.61 that remained, before they could steal it again from him,” said Kenani.

The activist has since demanded First Capital Bank pay back the money to Mr. Ngoleka, saying it was the bank’s duty to protect Mr. Ngoleka’s money from thieves.

He said: “How was this theft possible without collusion with someone within the bank? With all those know-your-client procedures, how did FCB approve the linkage to all these numbers?

“Ndalama za osauka mubweza. We cannot allow you to steal from the poor like that.

“I can see that banks are busy trying to convince village banks to deposit their money with them. Will the money be safe?”

Meanwhile, following Kenani’s appeal, Counsel Silvester Ayuba James offered to defend Ngoleka free of charge.

Kenani added that he will be contacting the Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy Section in the Department of Financial Sector Regulation at the Reserve Bank of Malawi to look into the matter.

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