In April 2021, Mary (not real name) was admitted to the University of Burgundy, France, to study international management and business studies. To finance her trip, she withdrew €3,000 through Personal Travel Allowances (PTA) at the Standard Chartered Bank, Maitama, Abuja, on August 17, 2021.
In France, the entire sum was deposited into a French bank account held by Elizabeth Henry, her sister. However, Mary learned on September 17 that two €500 bills out of the €3,000 she had deposited were fake and that the bank had deducted €1,000 from Henry’s account.
“The Bank of France asked my sister to come and explain the source of the money,” Mary told FIJ. “And we know this is just the beginning of the case.”
Upon receiving the news, Mary contacted Jumoke Jaiyeola, head of Standard Chartered Bank, Maitama branch, to complain. But Jaiyeola shunned her.
“When I called the bank manager, she told me to do my worst,” Mary said.
Henry said living in France might be tough for her sister following the incident.
“When they call me, I’ll say she’s the one who gave me the money. And it will affect her master’s degree programme and her visa,” she told FIJ. “As a student who has more than two years to study, she may not be given a chance to open a bank account.
Henry is also worried the matter might be handed over to the French police.
“Now that the Bank of France has flagged my account, I’m going to get into trouble,” she said. “By the time they complete their investigation, they will turn the matter over to the police and they will take it to court. From there, we don’t know what will happen.”
We just want the bank to pay the money back, because the girl doesn’t have enough money for survival in France. We also need them to take responsibility for their negligence. Because if care is not taken, she may end up in jail.”
FIJ made a call to Jaiyeola’s phone on Saturday, but she hung up after our reporter introduced himself. She then refused to answer subsequent calls and also did not respond to an SMS sent to her phone.