President upholds banking mohtasib’s decision ordering Soneri Bank to return money
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
President Dr Arif Alvi has rejected the representation, filed by the Soneri Bank Ltd (SBL) against the order of the Banking Mohtasib, and has made the bank responsible to make good the loss of the money to the complainant without further delay. While upholding the orders of the Banking Mohtasib to pay an amount of Rs. 800,000 amount to the complainant, the President stated in his decision that the bank could not escape the liability in a case of this kind, when the commission of fraud with the account holder by its management was established and admitted. He said that the ample opportunity had been provided to the Bank before the learned Banking Mohtasib to defend and controvert the claim of the complainant and even before the forum, however, the bank had failed to discharge the burden and statutory liability cast upon it under the law. According to the details, Mr. Muhammad Danish Naseem (the complainant) maintains an account with the Soneri Bank Ltd Sargodha Road Branch, Sheikhupura. Mr. Danish opened his account on 22-10-2018 in the bank branch and requested the Manager to deposit PKR. 2,000,000/- (two million rupees) cash in the said account. Whereas, the Manager gave him deposit slips of Rs. 500,000/-, Rs. 900,000/- and Rs. 600,000/- respectively. Despite insistence of the account holder for issuing one deposit slip of amount i.e. Rs. 2 million, the bank Manger issued three deposit slips saying that it was to overcome the restrictions of the SBP. Later, the account holder wanted to draw money from his account but there was no sufficient balance in his account. He lodged a complaint with the bank’s authorities but his grievance was not addressed. Although, the complainant possessed valid deposit slips admittedly issued by the Ex-Manager bearing his genuine signature and Branch Stamp affixed thereon which validated customer claim to the extent that the Bank had not accounted for amounts of PKR. 2,000,000/- in his account. Furthermore, the Bank had admitted during the proceedings before the Banking Mohtasib that the receipts in possession of the customers bore signatures of the Bank’s ex-Manager. Despite all these proofs, the complainant was compelled to run from pillar to post and no relief was provided to him. Feeling aggrieved, Mr. Danish Naseem approached the Banking Mohtasib for his grievance. The Banking Mohtasib, under Section 82 D of the BCO read with Section 9 of the Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Act, 2013 (No. XIV of 2013), advised the Bank to forthwith make good the loss by crediting the account of the complainant with a sum of PKR 800,000/- in pursuance of the findings. While rejecting representation of the Bank, the President has noted that it is a case of wrong doing and maladministration by the Bank officials and it is, therefore, responsible to make good the loss of the complainant. He further stated that the ambit and extent of jurisdiction of Banking Mohtasib was spelt out under Section 82A (3)(a)(e), Section 82B(4)(5) and Section 82F of the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962. The cumulative reading and perusal of these provisions of law undoubtedly leads to the conclusion that the Banking Mohtasib is to inquire into the complainants about banking malpractices, maladministration, wrong doings, the fraudulent transactions, the corrupt and malafide practices by the Bank officials and pass appropriate orders on conclusion of inquiry. These powers of the Banking Mohtasib when considered in context with Section 18 and 24 of the Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Act, 2013 further show that in matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Banking Mohtasib, stated the decision.