President directs bank to refund Rs 344,600 to fraud victim

President directs bank to refund Rs 344,600 to fraud victim

ISLAMABAD, Nov 29 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi, upholding the orders of Banking Mohtasib, has directed Allied Bank Ltd (ABL) to pay Rs 344,600 to a customer as the amount fraudulently transferred from his account.

The bank had committed maladministration by opening the fund transfer facility without the consent of customer which caused him financial loss, the President House said Wednesday.

Deciding upon a representation filed by ABL against the decision of the Banking Mohtasib, the president held that the bank failed to discharge the burden and statutory liability cast upon it under the law and that it had committed basic irregularity and non-compliance by activating Internet Banking/Electronic Funds Transfer (IB/EFT) channel without customer consent.

In his decision, he observed that although the complainant received a phone call from a number similar to the bank’s helpline, after which, a sum of Rs 344,602 was transferred from his account, however, if the IB/EFT facility had not been opened by ABL, the customer could have been saved from the financial loss caused to him with no fault on his part.

The president pointed out that the complainant had neither requested the IB/EFT facility nor had conducted any transaction through such channels in the past.

Ameer Ali Wasan (the complainant), a citizen of Hyderabad, immediately filed a complaint with the bank after the fraud but his grievance was not resolved.

Later, he approached Banking Mohtasib to get a refund of the lost amount. The Mohtasib directed ABL to refund the defrauded amount, but ABL filed a representation with the President against the decision.

The president held a personal hearing of the case and in his decision noted that ABL failed to establish the legitimacy of the disputed transaction in terms of Section 41 of the Payment System and Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 2007.

“From the perusal of the record, it is apparent that the transactions were conducted on a single date and almost in a very short span of time and on the same pattern.
It could have evoked the alert system of the Bank, to at least call the customer about it. It is a matter of concern to be addressed by the Banks and the regulator i.e., State Bank of Pakistan,” the President noted.

He added that the citizen was not conversant with digital banking and did not have adequate knowledge of the present-day banking products based on modern technology.

In view of the facts, the president concluded that IB/EFT was an unsolicited facility and the bank had failed to comply with various binding and mandatory provisions of the Payment Systems and EFT Act 2007 as well as directives issued by the State Bank of Pakistan regarding the opening of such channels.

The president, therefore, rejected the representation filed by ABL and directed it to report compliance to Banking Mohtasib within 30 days from the date of the order.

By Shumaila Andleeb

Shumaila Andleeb; Senior Reporter at Associated Press of Pakistan; covering the beats of President, Prime Minister, Foreign Office, and Special Assignments.

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