Bank employee admits guilt on 288 fraud charges

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-A man accused of defrauding Standard Bank at Gobabis to the sum of N$1.8 million over a span of two years wants to plead guilty to 288 fraud charges, or alternatively theft charges, he face in the Windhoek High Court.
Mark Wayne van Wyk, 30, indicated to Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula who presided over the pre-trial hearings in the High Court – in the absence of Judge Christi Liebenberg – that he wants to plead guilty to the charges through his State-funded lawyer, Jan Wessels.

Wessels indicated in his reply to the State’s pre-trial memorandum that his client accepts responsibility for the crimes he is charged with. Judge Angula then postponed the matter to October 19 for Judge Liebenberg, who usually handles pre-trial proceedings, to allocate the matter to a judge.

According to the charge sheet, Van Wyk was employed as the accounts support consultant, also known as asset custodian, at the Gobabis branch of Standard bank and his duties were to oversee transactions on the bank’s internal revenue/interest accounts, as well as to do treasury balancing in respect of the said account.

It is alleged he initiated a scheme whereby he would obtain banking accounts from his friends, relatives and acquaintances, and would manipulate the bank’s system to cause payments to be captured, deposited and/or transferred from the bank’s internal revenue/interest accounts to his personal accounts and to the accounts of his friends, relatives and acquaintances, causing the bank to lose N$1,811,622.11.

He allegedly did this during the period January 19, 2013 and August 31, 2015.
According to the summary of substantial fact in the indictment, any transaction in respect of the bank’s internal revenue/interest accounts is processed and/or captured using the user number of the specific employee effecting the transaction.

The employee numbers used by the bank’s staff are always visible on the computer screens when a specific staff member is logged onto the system. It was noted that at times the accused’s colleagues would request him to assist them to carry out some functions, such as doing treasury balancing while using the user number of the specific workmate, who requested him for assistance.

The accused also assisted his colleagues to regain their login passwords when they were blocked.
The accused then took advantage of the trust that had developed between him and his workmates to initiate a fraudulent scheme whereby he would obtain bank account details from friends, relatives and acquaintances and would fraudulently manipulate the bank’s system to cause payments to be made into the said accounts of relatives and friends, who in all cases had nothing to do and were never owed any money by Standard Bank.

They in some instances did not have an account with Standard Bank and were not entitled to any payments whatsoever from Standard Bank, the indictment reads. In effectivng the transfers, the accused used his workmates’ user ID numbers, but on several occasions also used his own user ID number, it was further stated.

It was further alleged in the indictment that the accused would contact the person(s) into whose accounts he had transferred money from the bank to withdraw the money and hand it to him, while on other occasions he asked the persons into whose accounts he transferred money to give him their ATM cards, which he would then use to withdraw money from several ATMs, or use such cards to make purchases at different POS terminals or paypoints.

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