By Diana Wambui
A 63-year-old man was appalled when he tried to withdraw money from his Equity Bank account to cover his medical expenses on a graceful Monday. The Nyamira county resident visited Equity Bank with his wife only to find out that his account had insufficient funds. Only a thousand shillings left to his name from the graft for bank maintenance.
Jopic Bundi was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure in 1990. He worked at the Revenue Department in Nyamira County where he retired in 2019 with his savings in Equity Bank. Afterwards, he was engrossed in different projects like real estate and house renovations. At this time, his condition was manageable until he started complaining about chest pains.
Consequently, his first-born daughter, Phyllis Bundi went with him to withdraw KSh20,000 from the Ksh290,000 he had saved, leaving a solid Ksh270,000 in his current account.
The old-fashioned father of five does not own an ATM card, only an Equitel line which he registered back in 2014 and he is oblivious to it.
Clinical tests showed that he had an enlarged heart on his right meaning more money out of their pockets hence the second transaction. His daughter went to withdraw the money from his bank account but this was rendered impossible by one of her friends who was working at the bank. Desperately, she got money elsewhere since they had to see a cardiologist every month.
The second transaction however, raised alarms when Ksh270,000 magically disappeared from the account. Jopic who was accompanied by his wife when he got the news of insufficient funds immediately called their daughter Phyllis Bundi who then escorted them back to the same bank for further details.
She immediately asked for the bank statement from the manager who was reportedly very abrasive. According to Phyllis, he dismissed her saying that her father was at fault for giving out his pin, which she denied saying that he was very sick.
They also discovered a frequent 30,000 cash withdrawal to the Equitel line from an unknown source that eventually emptied the account.
The bank manager went ahead and told Phyllis to report to the matter to the police.
Equity’s response to the matter sent a shock wave through Bundi’s heart, according to his first-born daughter, Phyllis. “His condition worsened when he found out there was no money in his bank account,” she said.
At Nyamira Police Station, they spoke to the head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, John Pere and they were assigned a police officer who opened an investigation that eventually became futile. The family was told that fraudulent cases were common in Equity Bank.
A journalist by the name Abuga Makori broke the news all over Twitter and was met by many dignified responses from Co-operative Bank, KCB and Equity Bank itself.
One lady from the comment section came out to claim that Equity stole 10,000 from her and when she reached out to them, the branch manager was out of line.
“I was once a victim. I followed up with the branch manager akaanza kunikatia (started flirting with me). I was a student by then. Money was lost and never recovered.” she alleged.
“A global brand like @keEquityBank should strive to minimize these acts of impunity. By now, the Nyamira Branch workers should have been put on notice. Stealing from customers is one of crimes that should be punished instantly.” said Abuga Makori who authored the expose via Twitter.
“Hello Abuga. Thanks for raising the matter with us. We have taken note and will be following up on this with our team at Kisii Branch. There has got to be an explanation and we shall get to the bottom of it and update the client.” Equity responded.
Bundi’s daughter claims that they never called her after that and all their plights fell on deaf ears. Currently, the sick man is in a wheelchair and goes for dialysis appointments in Nyangina Hospital, Kisii County twice in a week.
He is trapped battling high blood pressure, kidney failure and an enlarged heart, together with broken promises from those he thought he could depend on.
“They said they would call. They have never called,” Phyllis expressed her disappointments and vowed to make a shift to a different bank.
Edited by Sumaya Hussein