Dh3.3 million discovered in beggar’s bank account


Woman has been begging in the Lebanese town of Sidon for more than 10 years

Beirut: A Lebanese woman posing as a beggar was discovered to have nearly 1.33 billion Lebanese pounds [around Dh3.3 million] in her bank account.

The news surfaced following the shutdown of Jammal Trust Bank following a request by the US Treasury.

In August, the United States sanctioned Lebanon-based Jammal Trust Bank and its subsidiaries for allegedly facilitating the financial activities of Hezbollah, according to the Treasury Department.

Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh had then assured JTB’s customers that their deposits were safe and guaranteed.

On Wednesday afternoon, a photo of two cheques issued by the Lebanese Central Bank and bearing the name of [Wafaa Mohammad Awad] surfaced on social media.

The photo confirmed that the beggar was, in fact, a ‘billionaire’ and that she had been issued two cheques of LBP750,000,000 [Dh1.8m] and LBP589,000,000 [1.4m].

The woman, known by Hajje [pilgrim] Wafaa Mohammad Awad, is famous amongst the residents of Sidon for all-day begging and specifically in front of a known hospital.

Hana S., a nurse at the hospital told Gulf News on Thursday: “Wafaa is i known to be a beggar. Most of the time she begs at the hospital’s entrance. Everybody around knows her and she has been here for over 10 years. Since the news broke out, she has been the talk of the town.”