BY CHIMWEMWE MANGAZI
Minority shareholders of Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed, Standard Bank plc, on Thursday took turns to query how the bank ended up losing over K8.5 billion to fraud in 2017.
This was during the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM) which was held in Lilongwe where board of directors and the shareholders took time to discuss the position and performance of the bank in the year ended December 31 2017.
The bank was a major victim to acts of fraud by a Pakistan national, Abdul Rehman, who also allegedly defrauded K12 billion from four other lending institutions before he fled the country last year.
The bank said in a financial statement that operation costs were 32 percent above that of 2016 due to operational losses arising from fraud and process failures as well costs arising from the implementation of the new core banking system.
One of the shareholders of the bank, Frank Harawa, said that they wanted to find out if some of the directors were involved in the fraud and what the bank is doing to avoid a similar occurrence of the same.
“The issue of fraud is a serious one. We wanted to understand who is responsible for this, whether it was the directors or management involved in the fraud.
“They must work on it so that it should not happen again,” Harawa said.
Standard Bank Chief Financial Officer, Temwani Simwaka, said the bank has already sealed all loopholes to deal with the problem once and for all.
“We have looked at our risk management processes, considering what happened had caused us to lose money and where the gaps are. So we have tightened up the process.
“We have also proceeded to take action towards people who perpetuated the fraud, some cases are in court while others the police are still investigating,” Simwaka said.
Nevertheless, the bank posted a K12 billion profit which is 37 percent lower than the K19 billion posted in 2016.