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Kobedi Maimane said he would die a bitter man if Absa bank did not refund the R20000 he claimed was fraudulently withdrawn from his account.
But Absa insists he is the actual person who withdrew the money and was positively identified by bank staff.
Maimane's ordeal started in May 2001 when a thief stole his identity book and ATM card.
He reported his loss immediately to the Boom Street Absa branch in Rustenburg and was advised to also lay a theft charge at a nearby police station. He obliged.
A day later the pensioner returned to his branch and withdrew R200 at the counter so that he could apply for a replacement ID book, leaving a balance of R20169,92 in his account, he said.
His temporary identity document was issued ten days later, he said.
"I then went to my branch to inquire about my ATM card which was supposedly renewed, and discovered that my account had been wiped clean," he said.
His bank statement in respect of stolen document/cards shows the time of notification of loss as 10.55am and the time a hold was imposed as 10.59am.
But the thug who forged his signature was able to withdraw all of his money in a single day, said Maimane.
"In some instances the fraudster signed as Mamimane and Mamine and was given my money at the counter despite the account being blocked," he said.
Maimane said the bank refused to refund him and insisted that he was the culprit who withdrew the money.
"They told me they had captured me withdrawing the money in their video footage, but have since failed to show it to me," said Maimane.
Absa spokesman Deon Oosthuizen said the incident was investigated in 2001 and the claim was then repudiated on the basis that Maimane was positively identified by staff at Absa Brixton as the person who obtained the debit card with which the transactions in dispute were processed.
"The matter was then referred to the Banking Ombudsman who also investigated the matter and concurred with Absa's decision to repudiate the claim," he said.
l Meanwhile, First National Bank made its client a happy man by agreeing to refund his R20000 which was fraudulently withdrawn from his account.
Sipho Makhubo was robbed of his identity document and ATM card in May after he made a withdrawal of R2000.
Makhubo reported this immediately to FNB and also laid a criminal charge at Randfontein Police Station on the same day.
He was subsequently issued with a replacement card and withdrew a further R2000 on the same day, he said.
At the beginning of June, when he went to make a withdrawal he discovered that he was left with a balance of R17.
"On May 30 a second card was re-issued to a fraudster at Carlton Centre branch, presumably on presentation of a fraudulent ID," said Makhubo.
He said the fraudster proceeded to Booysens and made a teller withdrawal of R17000 and an ATM one of R3000.
Makhubo has a daily limit of R1000, but the fraudster exceeded this, he said.
FNB agreed to reimburse Makhubo in full.
Stephen Higgins of FNB said the bank staff who issued the replacement card to a person with Makhubo's stolen ID book were negligent, but did not act illegally.
He said Makhubo was the victim of an account take-over and only realised the fraud about two weeks after it had occurred.