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Bank reassures clients of protection

’Marafaele Mohloboli

STANDARD Lesotho Bank will continue to provide all services as usual and maintain its payments and investment obligations and continue to assure its clients that its business is based on sound fiduciary risk business continuity.

The bank said this in its recent statement posted on its website.

Although the statement does not specify the actual case which it refers to, it comes on the back of a recent bust of a fraud scheme that prejudiced the Ministry of Finance, Sub-accountancy department in Leribe of M17 million with the assistance of a Standard Lesotho Bank’s sales consultant ‘Mamothibeli Piti.

Ms Piti last week appeared in court along with police constable (PC) Mokone Bereng of Khubetsoana in Berea and Abiele Moletsane (30) on charges of defrauding the government of at least M17 million.

PC Bereng (35) Mr Moletsane (30) and Ms Piti (34) were arrested Monday.

The trio allegedly defrauded the government of M17 million and some motor dealers of amounts in the region of over a million maloti through fraudulent purchases.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli told our sister paper, the Lesotho Times that PC Bereng and his accomplices could face more charges as the investigations are ongoing.

“This trio defrauded the sub-accountancy department (of the Ministry of Finance) in Leribe of an estimated M17 million by hacking into its system,” Supt Mopeli said, adding, “They then went on to purchase some vehicles at various car dealers where they paid through electronic transfers”.

“They always paid money exceeding the actual price of their purchase and then later claimed they had erred and demanded to rectify their mistake and demanded the excess in cash in the process,” Sup Mopeli said.

The transactions are said to have occurred in October this year and the suspects allegedly deposited the ill-gotten funds into three different accounts which they had opened under false identities in South Africa.

And Standard Lesotho Bank said: “We take this opportunity to reassure all our customers in the corporate and business sectors as well as in their personal banking capacities that the bank continues to provide all services as usual”.

“We will maintain our payments and investment obligations and continue to assure you that our business is based on sound fiduciary risk and business continuity principles.”

The bank said it had discovered a fraud scheme targeting some of its clients’ accounts.

“Investigations are ongoing however, it can be confirmed that at this stage there was a syndicate which involves some staff members and external people and anyone found culpable will be brought to book.

“We have been able to identify the said staff members and law enforcement authorities have already arrested those alleged to have been involved in this fraud. Our business is built on a solid set of values and ethics and the bank does not tolerate any employee acting outside the framework of these principles.”

The bank’s marketing manager public relations and communications, Kheleli Manyathela said so far two of their staffers have been suspended pending investigations.

“So far, two of our staffers have been suspended in connection with this incident and we are aware that there could be more involved as this is an organised crime,” Mr Manyathela said.

The bank has also urged its clients to exercise more vigilance when handling their banking business especially during this festive season.

“Due to the exponential growth in fraudulent activities during this festive season, we advise all to be extra vigilant when making their transactions, whether online or otherwise.

“We also appeal to all our customers and the public at large to remain calm and alert the police if they have any information that can assist us in the investigation of this matter,” the statement reads.

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