FC Stanbic, customer in row over Sh2.8m fraud

A Stanbic Bank logo along Banda Street, Nairobi, on  February 2021. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

CFC Stanbic Bank is embroiled in a court battle with its customer after fraudsters stole Sh2.8 million from her account.

In a case filed on November 16, 2021, Jane Robison accuses CFC Stanbic Bank of failing to secure her money while the latter shifts the blame to her, noting that she did not report in time for the bank to freeze the account and did not keep her mobile phone safe.

Robison, in her case filed by lawyer Duncan Okatch, narrated that on March 8, 2021, she transferred money from her Sterling Pounds account into her Kenya Shillings one at Stanbic Bank branch in Naivasha. The woman claimed that within an hour after the transfer, she got persistent calls from an unknown caller and decided to pick up.

According to her, the caller spewed unpalatable words forcing her to cut the call. Robison, in her court papers before Magistrate Hezron Nyaberi, said it later dawned on her that she had been swindled when she went for lunch and her ATM card was rejected due to insufficient funds.

“The applicant was quite surprised and shocked with the said news as she had just transferred money from her Sterling Pound account to her current account,” court papers filed by Okatch read in part adding that she dashed to Naivasha only to find that 39 transactions had been done.

According to her, she was told that the transactions were through her banking app yet she had not registered such an account.

“I was informed that the said transactions occurred via my mobile banking app. I was surprised as I had no recollection of having registered for such service,” said Robison. 

She said that the lender has not handed to her internal investigations on the fraud. The bank, according to her, denied liability for the siphoned money.

In its reply, Stanbic Bank admitted that it holds both her Sterling Pound and current accounts. It, however, asserts that upon opening the account, it was her duty to inform the bank of suspicious issues and transactions in her account without delay.

Stanbic Bank stated that on March 9, last year, it received an inquiry from Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) forensic services department seeking validation of Pesalink transactions that had originated from Robison’s account. The money had been transferred to KCB’s two accounts.

According to the lender, a review of her account showed that on March 8, 2021, Sh2.8 million had been wired through its mobile banking application platform.

“The transactions alerts for the transactions were also successfully delivered to the plaintiff’s registered mobile number. The transaction took over 24 hours,” its reply filed by Wamae and Allen Advocates read in part, adding that she did not raise any issue despite the confirmation messages being delivered to her.

The bank said that on November 18, 2021, it interviewed Robison, who stated that she received a call from a person who did not identify himself, but simply insulted her and disconnected the call. Thereafter, the lender stated, that she received multiple calls from unknown persons.

Although Stanbic Bank stated that her phone had the confirmation messages, its investigations confirmed that no PIN reset was initiated from her end. According to the lender, she got her PIN through social engineering.

The bank added that it contacted Safaricom to check whether she was a victim of SIM swap but found no trace of illegal SIM card replacement. It argued that fraudsters must have obtained sufficient details from her so as not to require a SIM replacement to access her account.

Hearing date of the case to be taken at the registry.