By Pinky Khoabane (correction from Lapping. He wasn’t paid R35,000 but R3,500 for closing his credit card and overdraft facility. Does it matter that it is R35,000 & not R3,500? Lapping doesn’t object to the rest of the article. FNB bought Simon Lapping to keep quiet on FNB’s use of Non Authentic Early Debit Order (NAEDO) to “grab money” without an authorised debit order.
DA’s Simon Lapping
DA Councillor in Ekurhuleni Ward 17, Simon Lapping, was in financial trouble some years ago. He was in arrears of R400 on an FNB Credit Card and Overdraft facility but he ended up with R3,500 paid to him by FNB just to close these two accounts. But that wasn’t all. He was later given a bond of R155,000 even though he had no job and no income and FNB paid R155,000 into his bond which had an outstanding amount of R125,000. He was then paid the balance of R30,000 in cash. Read his affidavit attached, which he has confirmed is authentic.
Call it a legal route by which banks operate in trying to close a bad account as Spalling calls it today or a bribe to silence a disgruntled client, the bottom line is that now DA Councillor of Ward 17 in Ekurhuleni, Simon Lapping, had his bond account of R125,000 wiped-off First National Bank (FNB) books just so they could close his other smaller accounts, he says. In the process of getting him to close his measly accounts which he was in arrears of R400, they paid him R35,000.00 in cash. In an affidavit signed in 2015, Lapping details how in 2008 he went into financial difficulties and struggled to pay instalments on his credit card and overdraft facility that went into R400 in arrears.
“FNB employed a firm of debt collectors, I believe called BDM Attorneys to collect on the arrears on my account,” the affidavit reads. The collectors harassed him up to ten times a day just to get their R400.
The now DA Councillor sent an email to then CEO of FNB, Michael Jordaan, “threatening to obtain his personal details and to begin threatening him if the harassment from BDM did not stop.
“The same afternoon I received a call from Mr Jacque Cilliers, CEO of FNB Credit Card. He requested a meeting. I agreed to meet with him.
“I went through to Bank City in Johannesburg the following morning to meet with Mr Cilliers. There was (sic) about five people. Mr Cilliers, an Indian Lady (their “legal” person), Darryl (surname I cannot recall) and another person who was there briefly”.
In the meeting, Lapping detailed the harassment by FNB and that their use of Non Authentic Early Debit Order (NAEDO) to “grab money” without an authorised debit order was unacceptable. “Mr Cilliers response was. ‘I will give you R100 000 to go away’.”
The DA Councillor says in the affidavit that he explained he had a joint bond account which he had with his wife but that he was going through a divorce. He requested for a few days to think about the offer and in two days’ time, FNB contacted him to establish if he accepted the offer. He responded in the affirmative. He says his credit card and overdraft were cancelled and he was given R3,500.
It was agreed that the balance of the R100,000 would be paid up when his divorce went through. Some two or so years later, the divorce was finalised and he informed the bank of the developments. The financial institution began processes to ensure that a property he owned with his wife would be put in his name to the amount of R155,000.00. “As per divorce agreement I would get my ex-wife’s half share of a property we owned. FNB Homeloans began the process, which I might add they were completely out of their depth. I complained to Dawn Smith about the sheer incompetence….and he set up a new one point liaison for me,” the affidavit reads.
Lapping says part of the provisions made for this transaction were that he could not contact the FNB CEO and the transaction could not be reflected on ITC. In addition, FNB would pay for the transfer fees. “Around September 2011, the property was transferred into my name with a new bond of R155,000 (quite good for someone with no job, income etc). My outstanding balance was about R125,000. A month later in the beginning of October, I paid R2800 into this bond, the only payment I ever made. A few days later, a mysterious amount of R150,000 was paid into my bond therefore leaving me with a credit of approximately R30,000,” the DA councillor continues in his affidavit.
He says he enquired from the bank where the “mysterious” amount came from and the bank confirmed it was made by FNB Credit Card. The R30,000 was made directly to him thereafter, he adds.
In an interview I conducted with Lapping, he says his case was one of several legitimate means by which banks close accounts. Banks close accounts due to bad behaviour (bouncing cheques, inability to service accounts, etc), fraudulent activity on the account, or if someone wants to buy for development, a property which is still owed. He confirmed the authenticity of the affidavit which he claims to have made to assist another aggrieved FNB client, Nico Niemand.
The tone of the affidavit is quite different from Lapping’s tone in the interview today, where he suggested this transaction was above board.
Attached is the Affidavit. FNB Bribe