The government-controlled weekly publication, Sunday Mail, reports that the Nedbank Zimbabwe bank tellers in the story that Pindula broke yesterday are accused of swindling about USD $1.1 million from customer accounts. The tellers, the report claims, swapped the US Dollars with RTGS$ in the customers’ accounts without their knowledge.
This is said to have taken place between October 2018 and March this year (2019). The theft, according to the report was discovered by the bank’s South African parent company.
Nedbank recently forced some senior managers to go on forced leave. Yesterday Pindula was told by a verified source within the bank who refused to be named that tellers were arrested in Harare, Bulawayo, and Mutare. The report by Sunday Mail adds that some employees in Zvishavane and Chegutu were also arrested. They were granted bail yesterday (Saturday) after an appearance at the different magistrate’s courts in the named cities.
Said a court document:
“During the period extending from 15 October 2018 to 9 March 2019, the accused used (the)Denomination Exchange Platform in the Flexicube core banking system (under teller module), which is designed for exchange of similar currencies only, that is to say, they put in bond cash inflows and took out USD cash, thereby prejudicing the bank of foreign currency and as a result of the accused’s actions, the complainant suffered an actual prejudice of US$1 119 974 and nothing was recovered.”
Zimbabwe has been in a financial services crisis that started in 2016 with the introduction of Bond Coins (and later the Bond Note), a form of currency that the government said was equivalent to the USD Dollar. This resulted in a situation where bank account holders could withdraw the local currency in exchange for US Dollars they had deposited into their accounts at a 1:1 rate.
Unfortunately the value of the local currency, which this year was officially renamed RTGS Dollars, eventually lost value against the USD Dollar on the parallel market, creating the arbitrage opportunity.
More on this story: Sunday Mail