Ondangwa-Dozens of Standard Bank clients at Ondangwa are too afraid to withdraw money from that branch, as there seems to be a gang of robbers targeting them.
A number of Standard Bank clients that spoke to New Era claim to have been robbed of thousands of dollars soon after they made withdrawals from that branch. The bank recently initiated an investigation to ascertain if any of its employees were linked to the thieves, but the probe has since exonerated its staff of any wrongdoing.
Most of them suspect that certain employees within the bank were acting as informants to criminals,
as people only become targets once they have withdrawn sums in excess of N$10 000. After withdrawals, clients are then followed from the bank by unknown men, who at times go as far as going to the homes of their targets.
Some clients get robbed as soon as they stop at shopping centres. One incident involved a woman identified as Aina Kamati, who was robbed of N$18,000 while parked at a cemetery. Kamati suspects she she had been followed the whole day after she had withdrawn N$15,000 from the bank.
According to her, she had stopped at several places that day, but she did not move far from her vehicle.
She later parked at the graveyard, where she got out of the vehicle and moved a few metres from it.
“I was returning from the cemetery where I went to inspect my mother’s grave when a lady came running towards me, telling me that four men jumped out of a Dankie Botswana (Toyota Corolla) and broke into my car, took something and drove away.
“When I got back to the car, I discovered that at the N$15,000 I withdrew from the bank, plus another cash amount of N$3,000 that I had was all gone,” she said. Kamati opened a case of theft, but no one was arrested in connection with the matter.
Another Standard Bank customer was followed to a bar, where he was manhandled and the thieves forcefully took N$60,000, with which eh wanted to buy a car.
Another customer, Nabot Simaneka Enkali, was robbed of N$10,000, while Toivo Kambonde lost N$40,000 to criminals in a similar manner. Another woman, who asked for anonymity, was robbed of N$30,000 that was for her daughter’s tuition fees. Another was allegedly was robbed of N$30,000 meant for travelling expenses to Nigeria, and yet another man was robbed of N$80,000 meant for building material.
The mentioned cases are apparently just a drop in the ocean, compared to the number of robbery or attempted robbery incidents involving Standard Bank Ondangwa clients after withdrawals from tellers inside the bank.
Some of the victims suspect a young man – an employee of the bank – who allegedly stops while in the process of issuing money to clients to speak on his mobile phone, leaving customers waiting at the counter.
“I still confront that young man every time I go to the bank. If he asks me for my identity document I always reply to him that my ID was stolen by his friends, that he sent to come and rob me. He has never responded to that,” Kamati remarked.
Standard Bank spokesperson Surihe Gaomas-Guchu said the matter has been investigated by the bank’s forensic team and it could not link any of the staff members to the robbery incidents. “Standard Bank has a zero tolerance approach towards fraud or any fraudulent activities targeting our customers,” she said sternly.
She, however, cautioned bank customers to be vigilant at all times when withdrawing large sums of money and to immediately report any fraudulent incidents to their nearest branch or the customer contact centre on toll free number 0819286.