Banking giant blocks £5,000 charity gift amid fraud concerns

Jane Moore, with a plaque to go on the Sesita Medina milling manchine which is being built in memory

Jane Moore, with a plaque to go on the Sesita Medina milling manchine which is being built in memory of Janet Clark. Picture: Gambian Aid Through Education - Credit: Archant

A global bank has been criticised after a £5,000 charity lifeline from Norfolk to The Gambia was held up for 12 days amid concerns over fraud.

Santander impounded the money on December 11 when Jane Moore, from Taverham, attempted to transfer it to an international bank account on behalf of the Norfolk-based charity Gambian Aid Through Education (GATE).

The money, which was raised through donations, was for a milling machine to be installed in the village of Sasita Medina in The Gambia in memory of Janet Clark, the co-funder of GATE, who died in 2019.

By sending the money in early December, Mrs Moore had hoped the machinery would be installed in time for Christmas.

But shortly after attempting to send the money to her contact, Mrs Moore received a message from Santander to say the transaction had been blocked because of fraud concerns.

Mrs Moore immediately called Santander and visited her local branch to prove the transaction was legitimate, but was told the money could not be released.

Santander eventually released the money to Mrs Moore on December 23 along with £100 in compensation, after she contacted this newspaper.

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Mrs Moore said: "They've released the money and I think they have acknowledged that they didn't deal with my case properly and they didn't listen to me.

"For me it was a bit sad that I had to threaten them with bad press to get them to do something.

"I don't know how I feel about it. The money has gone [to The Gambia] and the machinery will get installed but the whole thing was all quite stressful."

She said Mrs Clark would have been saddened by the events and delay to the project which was being completed in her memory, adding: "I think she would have been upset having worked for years."

A spokesperson for Santander said: "Protecting our customers from fraud is a top priority for everyone at Santander and on some occasions this means that payments take longer to process while we complete essential fraud checks.

"We're sorry that these checks caused Mrs Moore's payment to be delayed.

"We can confirm that they have now all been completed, and any blocks on the account have been lifted."