The Deputy Registrar, Delta State Polytechnic, Excellence Ugbune, trended on the social media after he was commended for returning excess cash dispensed to him by an ATM. He speaks to OPEYEMI ADEFEMI about his motivation
What is your name and what do you do for a living?
My name is Excellence Ugbune. I am a public servant. I am the deputy Registrar at the Delta State Polytechnic.
Is it true that an ATM dispensed cash in excess of your request and you returned the excess cash to the bank?
Yes; it is true. I was overpaid when I went to withdraw at the ATM.
Can you narrate how it happened?
Well, some persons have been asking me how possible it is (for an ATM to dispense in excess of request). What happened exactly was that I went to cash some money that day and after cashing the money I decided to confirm if the amount was complete. In the process, I saw that the bundle was a mixture of N1,000 and N500 notes. After counting, I discovered that the cash in my hand was more than the amount I intended to withdraw. I think the machine could have been programmed to dispense only N500 notes but the bank mistakenly loaded N1,000 notes into it as well. Perhaps, the bank official who loaded cash into the ATM, didn’t do proper sorting before loading cash into the machine. I found N1,000 notes in between N500 notes.
How much did you intend to withdraw and how much did the machine dispense?
I honestly can’t remember how much I wanted to withdraw but there was excess cash. I had even forgotten about the incident until someone mentioned it in a meeting. It was an annual meeting of all senior staff members. The person mentioned it when the Rector was encouraging people to be hard-working and to be honest. The Rector was talking about how he had rewarded some outstanding staff members in recent times. At that point, a staff member stood up and spoke about the case of how I returned excess cash dispensed to me by ATM to the bank. He recommended that I should also be commended by the Rector for being a good ambassador of the polytechnic. Then the Rector asked for the name of the person talked about and my name was mentioned. I was invited to the podium and asked to narrate how it happened, which I did.
What happened then?
I was commended for my honesty and for being a good ambassador of the school. When I was called up that day and the Rector said I should be commended officially, I thought that was the end of it but before I knew it, the story was all over the social media.Some other persons could have gone away with the money. What motivated you to act differently?
Well, two things – morality and legality. In terms of morality it would be wrong to keep that money and legally it would be wrong.
Will you describe yourself as an honest person?Well, I don’t want to say I am a saint; I am not a saint but I am a very straightforward person. They know that about me both at work and in church. I did that (returned the excess cash) as a way of life; as the right thing to do. So, I don’t see anything special about it. It wasn’t my money in the first place, and apart from that if I had not done that, that would have landed the officer that loaded the machine into a big mess.
How long after the withdrawal did you return the excess cash to the bank?
I returned it immediately. I could have easily cashed my money and put it in my pocket and be on my way but then I couldn’t trust the ATM. So, as soon as the machine dispensed the money, I counted it to check if it was complete and when I did, I saw that there was excess. To be very sure, I did a second counting after which I walked into the banking hall. I drew their attention to what happened. I told them that their machine was dispensing in excess of requests. They immediately switched off the machine. I returned the excess cash to them and left.
What was the bank manager’s reaction?
I did not see the bank manager in person. I just dropped the cash. The bank officials thanked me very well and I left. The following day, the bank sent a letter of appreciation to me.
When you told your family about the incident, what was their reaction?
It couldn’t be different. They were happy but that is the normal thing to do. They were not surprised as I am the true son of my father. Honesty pays. We should all continue to be honest in all our dealings.