Up to 11 customers have come out so far to demand that Equity Bank Uganda replenishes their money totaling Shs25M which they claim went missing from their accounts.
Edith Nakacwa, Nathan Muhindo, Flavia Atunkwase, Flavia Adong, Joanita Walubiri, Brian Ntale and others say they have over the past weeks frequented Equity Bank’s main branch at Church House but received no help.
Some of the disgruntled customers who spoke to ChimpReports, accused the bank of negligence and maltreatment when they came seeking help.
At the center of the unfolding melee, is Equity bank’s new mobile banking service named Eazzy Banking, which the customers say is prone to hackers.
Ms. Nakacwa has held a savings account since 2019 says she had never experienced any issue with the bank until April this year when she lost her Capital totaling Shs21.9M.
On April 23, Nakacwa says she tried withdrawing money from the agent but was shocked to be informed that her account balance was insufficient, yet her account had just been credited with Shs1.7M, the previous day.
“I went to the Church House Branch only to be told that I had sent Shs. 9. 5M to a one Flavia Adongo through Eazzy Banking. I didn’t know anyone called Adongo and had never in my life used the said Application,” she said.
After meeting the Branch Manager, Nakacwa says she was referred to one Mr. Obua Denis, the Head of Security who confirmed to her that she had been robbed through the app.
“Mr. Obua showed me five similar reports from different clients who had approached him the same day. He then gave me my bank statement where I discovered two other transactions that were made without my knowledge. These were Shs7M and Shs5M made on April 14 through Eazzy banking. The money stolen amounted to Shs21.9M,”
Obua, Nakacwa said, admitted that indeed the bank is responsible for the loss and would resolve the matter.
“He asked me to report back the following Wednesday, only to inform me that he had not presented my case to the management. On Wednesday, I got a new message of someone trying to withdraw fresh Shs500,000 from my account and I rushed to the bank, they detected it. But on the Shs2.19M transactions, I did not get a single message,” she said.
In her quest to recover her money she says Mr Obua stopped picking Nakacwa’s calls which prompted her to tweet her story and tag the bank.
“When I went back on Monday, Obua scolded me for tweeting. He told me that “Equity bank is a very big institution and that my money was so little and that it can be paid in a snap of a finger” He told me never to contact him again, that I should go to Twitter and get my feedback and perhaps get my money from there.”
Nakacwa says she has then referred a one Doreen in the bank’s Marketing Department. She reportedly picked her calls for one week and started ignoring them.
“I re-launched my twitter war and the management summoned me informing me that they knew my query. They played on my mind which forced me to petition the Bank of Uganda (BOU) on the matter. The bank had organized the meeting when the president locked down the country,” she said.
Since reopening, she says BoU has not responded to her yet.
Flavia Adongo, another client who claims to have lost Shs 1.1million also accuses the bank of exposing its clients to fraud through the new app.
“Equity Bank’s Eazzy Banking Services was hacked because it is easy for one to steal money, they don’t check on us like telecom companies to ascertain who is making transactions.
“My savings were my Capital. Right now everything is down. I can’t pay my rent, I am surviving on the mercy of my friends and a few family members. Am stuck because it is now coming to four months and the bank has never done a thing yet my business had just started and now I am back to square zero,” she said.
Brian Ntale, another client says he saved Shs1.2Million through the bank agents only to be told a few hours later that he had withdrawn the money.
Brian Ntale’s tweet which he made after losing his money
“They claimed that I had used Eazzy Banking yet in my life I had never used it before,” he said.
After pilling pressure through Twitter, Ntale says the bank called him and offered to pay him the money on condition that he never talks about again.
“Some victims had approached me, so stopping me to talk about it meant their voice wouldn’t be heard,” he said.
The agreement which Equity Bank reportedly wanted Ntale to sign before he recovers his money
Meanwhile Flavia Atunkwase says she not only lost her Shs880,000 but the said thief went ahead and borrowed Shs245,000 using her Eazzy account.
“Unlike telecom companies which detect transactions, I realized Equity Bank doesn’t. And another thing is their Application is open so long as someone has your NIN and Simcard they can access all your money,” she said.
Two other clients, Joanita Walubiri and Nathan Muhindo on the other hand, told ChimpReports that they lost Shs660,000 and Shs100,838 respectively.
These have since sought assistance from different authorities including BOU.
Ntale told ChimpReports that he created a WhatsApp group which currently has 11 members who are all victims of this fraudulent acts.
“These are a few of the many who are out there suffering because you find several of them at Equity lining up,” he said
Following continuous pressure, the management of the bank on Wednesday held a day-long meeting with the aggrieved customers to solve the matter.
Nakacwa who attended the meeting told ChimpReports that the bank promised to pay back their money “but was not clear.”
“We had some discussions today and they told us to go back tomorrow but for us all we want is our money back not excuses,” she said.
Speaking to ChimpReports, Philip Otim, the Marketing and Communication Manager of Equity Bank said that the issue was being handled on a managerial level and would issue a statement thereafter.