Dubai resident troubled after mistake made by bank

Dubai: A man who suffered legal troubles due to a mistake made by his bank said that he could have lost his job and gone to jail.
Ahmad Al Halabi, a Syrian national and Dubai resident, said it all started when he received a phone call from a police officer requesting him to report to the station because the National Bank of Fujairah accused him of signing a bounced cheque.
“Once I went to the station, I was shown the letter, which states that I have signed a bounced cheque on behalf of my company. I was surprised by this accusation as I am not even authorised to do so, the company manager is.”
Al Halabi said the confusion happened because his name was present in the company’s establishment contract along with the company manager’s name, so the bank put his name in the complaint, instead of the manager’s name.
He explained that although he has the authorisation to sign court contracts on behalf of the company’s sponsor, he has nothing to do with the company’s bank and cheque transactions.
Al Halabi added that even though the cheque was not signed by him and did not belong to him, the police held his passport for two days until he was able to prove so with official documents.
“I had to take two days off from my work in order to sort out the documents that prove my innocence. The police finally returned my passport after the bank issued a second letter that said I was not in charge of the cheque, but after what? I could have went to jail and lost my job all because of a mistake done by a bank employee.”
He also added that missing two days of work was problematic since his company deals with 700 other companies that need their contracts to be completed within certain deadlines. He also said that he would have been immediately detained if he did not have his passport.
A legal expert who preferred to remain anonymous said that the bank should have double checked its records regarding who is the responsible person for signing the bounced cheque prior to issuing a police complaint.
“Although the bank clarified the complaint against the concerned person by issuing the second letter, withholding Al Halabi’s passport is an inconvenient action. The bank management should’ve been more responsible and aware of the complaint they sent to the police.”
The expert added that Al Halabi or other people in his situation, can take civil action against the bank to seek compensation, if they can prove to the court that they has suffered any sort of damage or loss from having their passport held.
Al Halabi told Gulf News that he is yet to decide if he wanted to take action, however, he wanted to share his story so that banks take more care when issuing complaints, in order to avoid any distress that can be caused to innocent customers.
“Such mistakes can ruin a person’s life, it can cause people to go to jail, lose their jobs and have their reputation questioned. I hope that other banks will ensure that such mistakes do not happen in the future.”