A couple who benefited to the tune of R861 940 because of an error on Firstrand Bank’s Internet banking channel are going to lose their property to compensate the bank.

The Witness reports the KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg) yesterday granted an order that the R1.7m property in Kokstad be sold.

The amount owed on the property is just over R1m.

The history of this matter dates back to January 2018 when the bank lost its bid to claim back the R891 940. The bank then applied for leave to appeal that decision and in March 2019, it finally got what it wanted, with a judgment in its favour.

Judge Trevor Gorven – along with Judges Rishi Seegobin and Piet Bezuidenhout – found that Sicelo and Nikita Khopho had enriched themselves with the bank’s money.

Gorven said the bank offers the service of remote banking via its mobile ‘app’. Between November 2011 and March 2013, the ‘app’ malfunctioned. When certain customers transferred money from their bank accounts to other accounts, the money came out of their bank account and the bank’s own account.

This meant Khopho’s account received a double payment each time, both from the customer and the bank, when only one amount was meant to be transferred.

Between October 2012 and March 2013, a total of R861 940 was transferred from Sicele’s account to his and his wife’s other accounts.

There was no legal basis for the transfers from the bank’s account.

As a result, said the judge, the bank lost those funds and the couple gained them.

Full report in The Witness (subscription needed)