BancABC in Botswana is trying to solve the riddle of how they were swindled out of close to P1, 5 million by computer identity theft fraudsters.
The Director of South African-based company, African Transmission Corporation (ATC), Victor Utedzi, on the other hand, is fulminating over the time investigations to trace his stolen money, US$200 000, is taking.
The money was stolen from his personal account in 2008 in a series of two transactions, US$160 000 and US$40 000 into an alleged account in his name in China, without Utedzi’s authorization.
In an interview with the Sunday Standard, Utedzi said, “I am really frustrated for I have repeatedly requested information, including written statements from BancABC but I have not been given anything ever since, instead I am told that the matter is still under investigation and I should contact the Police.”
Utedzi said following this setback in 2008, BancABC told him that money was transferred from his account following written instructions sent by electronic mail from a Hotmail account in his name with syntax along these lines [email protected] and a telephonic communication which they recorded.
He said he was told that the payment from his account was made to a bank in China and the name of the Bank in China has never been revealed to him or the account details where the money is alleged to have been paid into. Utedzi said “they say the account in China is in my name of which no evidence of this has been provided and no dates have been given to me of cash withdrawals made out of that account in China and that some of the cash was sent from that account to an account in my name held at Standard Bank in South Africa but no evidence of this has been provided.”
“I don’t know the process the BancABC followed before releasing huge sums of US$200, 000 as they could not verify something as mundane as a signature,” he said.
Further, the telephone numbers and address on the letter requesting the transfer were different from what the Bank had under his records.
Utedzi said during an interview with the Police, BancABC said Patricia Rangwangwa, who effected the transfers, was in Police custody and could not be made available to give a comment.
Utedzi said in an attempt to recover his money, he then took the matter to the Banking Ombudsmen in Botswana, and, of course, the matter was beyond their mandate, and he appealed to the Bank of Botswana to at least investigate whether proper procedures were followed in handling his funds in BancABC, but they too timidly suggested that investigations should continue and that he should find lawyers to help him.
“BancABC has clearly used their muscle to frustrate me out of pursuing the full recovery of my money, including the pain I have got to go through of failing to access my funds by using the line that they are investigating this case,” Utedzi said. “This to me has all the hallmarks of internal connivance, very senior level cover-up and questionable internal controls.”
Utedzi said on many occasions, he has offered to travel to China but they have refused to give him the necessary information required.
He said all he asked the Bank of Botswana was to look into all this information and knock the sense in BancABC to pay his cash back.
When reached for comment, BancABC Managing Director, Jitto Kuriaan, said “the bank management is fully aware of this case but we cannot comment because the case is still being investigated by the police.”
He added that it was very unfortunate that the case was taking too long.
When asked about the issue, Ms Seretse, of the Botswana Serious Fraud Squad, declined to comment.