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N572k Fraud: Diamond Bank Blames Pensioner for her Ordeal

**Denies maltreating her

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the lenders in Nigeria, Diamond Bank Plc, has refuted reports making the rounds that it treated harshly a woman recently defrauded of her pension funds domiciled with the bank.

A consumers’ activist, Mrs Sola Salako Ajulo, who is also the President/Founder of Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON), had posted on her Facebook wall that a pensioner, Mrs Comfort Ashaye, was allegedly chased away by a Diamond Bank Manager in Ikeja, Lagos after she had gone to lay complaint of her accumulated pension of N572,000 which developed wings from her account.

But Diamond Bank, in a response to Business Post enquiry on the matter on Thursday, said it was not true that its Manager maltreated the defrauded woman.

The financial institution said instead, when the matter was reported to them, the woman was comforted and given “better clarity on her account status.”

In the response sent through the lender’s PR agency, Prize Communications, Diamond Bank further said after its investigation into the case, it was discovered that the victim had given out her bank details to the fraudster, who pounced on the account.

Below is the reply by Diamond Bank to Business Post on the matter:

Mrs Comfort Ashaye came to the Diamond Bank branch sometime in March this year to transact and was told she had insufficient balance of N2 on her account. She expressed confusion and pain, but the branch manager took her into her office to comfort her and get better clarity on her account status.

Upon further probe, it was discovered that numerous mobile app withdrawals from her account in excess of N500k were made and she was asked if she had permitted/authorized any transaction by any means. She said no, but informed of a certain male that called her asking for her BVN details. She also informed that she hardly used her phone as it was always under her pillow at home.

Though she had the phone with her on that fateful day and she showed the branch manager and Diamond Bank staff the number that called her, which was a privately owned no (080).

Further investigations led the Diamond Bank staff to call the number which was answered but the guy also hung up as quickly as he picked it.

Mama’s phone also showed evidence of a 4 digit code, her mobile app pin, in her sent messages to this same unknown number.

She claimed that she lived alone and that all her children lived elsewhere.

However, Diamond Bank promised to investigate further to assist urgently. Her subsequent visit after the Easter break was with her son, who came and caused a scene witnessed by customers at the banking hall.

He rained abuses, threats, curses and even called Diamond Bank fraudulent. The bank security team came into the hall due to this and with the Diamond Bank staff tried to calm him, even mama also joined to plead on his behalf.  

The Diamond Bank branch team confirmed to mama that the matter had been escalated to the fraud unit of the bank and that the unit had identified one of the fraudulent withdrawals to an account at Fidelity Bank and that they were contacted to block the account; though the funds had been moved since and the account owners also unreachable.

Following that feedback to mama Ashaye, the branch was visited by an investigative journalist, who wanted our side of the story before going public. As per their policy, he was asked to get the customers introductory letter as the customer’s information was private. However, he was informed of what transpired at mama’s initial visit and the fact that she was called by an unknown person and her pin sent to the same number. The journalist expressed surprise as these details were unknown to him. He reiterated that he could use same number to track the criminals as he had successfully done in the past.

He collected the branch manager’s details and promised to come back to the bank within two weeks, but nothing was heard from him again.

The investigation was also concluded and customer was fully briefed of her negligence and the bank was not liable.

However, she maintained that she won’t take that, emphasising that there must be an insider (from the bank involved in the fraud). This matter was since concluded in April after the son’s threat to deal with the bank.

Below is the original story as shared by Mrs Ajulo:

Diamond Bank Again!

Mrs Comfort Ashaye is a Pensioner. Her pension is paid into her Diamond Account (statement in pic). On March 28 2017, her total pension was withdrawn overnight by fraudsters. Total of N585k was wired out of the account, leaving Mama with a balance of N2.07!

According to Mama, she went to her branch opposite Motorways Plaza Toll Gate area of Ikeja and the Branch manager shooed her away without letting her make a formal complaint.

She reported to a radio journalist Mr Joseph Folorunsho who tried to investigate but the same branch manager (her name is Ijeoma) threatened to lock him up and called security to harass him. As we speak, Mama Ashaye cannot explain what happened to her money.

This is the 3rd case of fraudsters wiping out consumer’s funds via online or phone platforms from Diamond Bank.

Please help share Mama Ashaye’s story until Diamond Bank investigates and refunds her pension.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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