An executive director of Dyer and Blair Investment Bank has been enjoined in a court case in which the firm is accusing Equity Bank of allegedly paying out Sh26.2 million from its business account to impostors.
Lady Justice Joyce Khaminwa allowed an application by Equity Bank’s for Thomas Kabaki Wamwea, a director of Dyer and Blair, to be a party to the suit on grounds that he authored a letter instructing Equity to make the “dubious” payments.
Equity maintains it made payments through electronic funds transfer on instructions from two letters signed by the chairman of Dyer and Blair, Jimnah Mbaru and executive director, Mr Wamwea.
The two bank executives have denied issuing such instructions and have dismissed the alleged signatures on the purported letters as forgeries.
Equity is claiming for indemnity from Mr Wamwea of Sh26,250,250 and costs on the basis the confirmation to make payments was correct and relied upon.
“He owes a duty to both Equity and Dyer and Blair and should accordingly indemnify the defendant (Equity) against the claim,” said Joseph Kamau, operations manager, Equity Bank.
Mr Kamau is alleged to have acted on the two letters to debit Dyer and Blair’s business account with the disputed Sh26 million.
Court documents states that Dyer and Blair, through a letter of May 12, 2008 purported to have been signed by Mr Mbaru and Mr Wamwea, instructing Equity to debit its business current account with Sh9,390,250 and transfer the money by electronic funds transfer to an account with Barclays Bank held by Abdiwahab Ahmed Nur.
Another letter of May 12, 2008 allegedly authored by Mr Mbaru and Mr Wamwea, again instructed Equity to debit Sh16,390,250 for the purchase of $ 265,000 and to transfer through electronic funds to Tac Traders Ltd to an account at the Bank of Baroda in Tanzania.
Copies of the letters have been availed to the court.
The two bank executives claim the alleged signatures on the purported letters were forgeries and further contend that the investment bank “has no knowledge of the beneficiaries to whom the money transfers were made.”
Dyer and Blair blames Equity Bank for paying out the monies, saying they were not entitled to debit their business account with the lump-sum on the strength of the alleged forged letters.
The bank wants a refund of Sh26 million and interest at 12 per cent from the date of debiting the account.
Responding to the accusations, Equity Bank says it debited Dyer and Blair’s account by complying with clear and unequivocal instructions duly executed by the bank’s chairman and its executive director.
In a sworn statement, Mr Kamau, says upon receiving the letters, they delayed the transactions for a day until they received firm instructions from Mr Wamwea.
In what has now turned to be a blame game between the two banks, Dyer and Blair argued that while Equity regularly contacted Mr Wamwea to confirm payment instructions, Equity did not contact him with respect to the alleged transactions.