Banks employees helping themselves with your savings

Posted on January 14, 2011

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Hands in Cookie Jar

The country’s commercial banks are under attack from within.

Thieving employees of the banks continue to pinch millions of shillings everyday from account holders with only few cases being reported.

In a front-page story carried by the Daily Nation on Friday, the figure is estimated at almost half a billion shillings every month.

However, these are only the cases that find their way into the police files with many more being kept under wraps away from the prying public eyes. The bulk of the money is being stolen by bank employees under whose care you have bestowed your hard-earned money.

The syndicate, if it might be called so, involves an intricate web running through all the cadres of bank employees. In most instances, only junior staff get to be punished and paraded in courts with the main schemers being left off the hook, mostly by termination of employment.

In other ugly situations, where the top brass are involved in the siphoning of client’s accounts, a transfer to other branches or change in department or even demotion passes out as punishment. For example, a report by the Banking Fraud Investigations Department (BFID) in 2010 indicate that in the early months of the year, 108 suspects were arraigned in court for such offences.

The suspects were involved in 102 bank fraud cases and were arrested and charged in courts. Surprisingly, only eight cases of these were finalised, with five convictions and two cases withdrawn from court.

The report released last year, though expected to be confidential, detailed how bank tellers admitted to colluding with outsiders and with their supervisors to defraud the banks.

In one of such scams, a senior manager at a tier one bank in the country in 2009 stole about Sh200 million over a period of three months from his employer. The manager in charge of corporate clients it was said made a duplicate Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) card that he used for withdrawing the money.

This was only realised months after he had resigned and took off and reconciliations were being done on his accounts. The money belonged to a smaller bank that has been associated with his employer for possible takeover.

But in all this, most banks work hard to ensure that the public does not get wind of the marauding employees. This, in their parlance, is aimed at maintaining confidentiality with the customers they are dealing with.

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