Banks recover N$852 thousand lost through economic crimes … as Namibians have mixed reactions on sense of safety at ATM machines

03 Apr 2018 15:40pm

While the actual financial loss in the banking sector has shown an increase between 2016 to 2017, the sector reported that of the amount lost, N$852 000 was recovered in the last trading year.

Information coming from the central bank has that further recoveries of N$1.7 million are expected pending the successful conclusion of investigations.

While 2016 saw a whopping N$13.6 million going down the drain via economic crimes, the amounts lost shot to N$18.5 million in the last trading year, the central bank has revealed.

“The number of fraud cases reported declined from 189 in 2016 to 166 in 2017. The amount involved through fraudulent activities declined from N$31.9 million in 2016 to N$31.6 million in 2017,” says the bank.

Instances of fraud suffered by the banks during the past year included credit card fraud, computer fraud, ATM fraud, theft of cash, cheque fraud, currency counterfeit fraud, theft of asserts, manipulation of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as well as machines and travelers’ cheques fraud.

Ordinary Namibians that spoke with The Villager had mixed reactions over the state of security during and after using ATM machines although they welcome the decreasing fraud cases as a much needed positive development. 

“I feel quite safe and comfortable on ATM machines for as long as there is a security guard nearby. I hope the decrease in cases stays that way,” says Elryn Wan Wyk.

Yet for Jennifer Afrikaaner who works around Hydas Centre in Klein Windhoek and banks with FNB, having the sense security comes with the time and environment when she is making a transaction.

“I now use E-wallet more. Sometime I feel safe and sometimes I do not. The problem is that you find some ATMs without any guard. In some instances, it’s the same guards that are being used to rob people. At times when you make a cash withdrawal especially at night, people follow you and you get robbed,” she says.

She adds that at times deductions made from her account are suspicious and unsatisfactory.

“I used to see deductions from my FNB account even when I had not withdrawn anything with amounts ranging around N$100,” she laments.

Meanwhile, central bank says the features of fraud included manipulation of negotiable instruments, fraud committed by outsiders, forgery of authorised signatures, manipulation of accounting and other bank records, inadequate internal controls and failure to adhere to banking procedures.

The reduction in the levels of fraud is as a result of improved effectiveness of awareness campaigns by the entire banking industry, central bank observed.

It cautions that, despite the decrease of cases, the occurrence of fraud continues to be a national, regional and global headache and to reduce such crimes as well as losses, banks should continue to strengthen their operational risk management practices through robust internal controls and fraud monitoring systems.