Theft prompts security review


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PETALING JAYA: A recent embezzlement case involving bank staff in Kota Kinabalu has sparked calls for tighter security measures in financial institutions.

Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy (pix) said the recent case that saw over a dozen arrested was both concerning and a wake-up call.

“Although the number of wrongdoings and criminal acts by bank employees may be very minimal, it cannot be ignored.

ALSO READ: RM24.2mil fraud: BNM requests prompt refunds to all affected account holders

“The rakyat, investors and the business community depend on the banks to safeguard their money.

“We don’t have a choice in this matter.

“Banks must aggressively play a role in eliminating undesirable employees,” he said, adding that banks need to invest in internal security and loss prevention departments, even if it incurs costs.

“These departments should have the expertise to detect embezzlement, fraud and misconduct by employees,” he said.

“Security investments are assets, not liabilities.”

ALSO READ: Millions stolen from bank with insider help

Drawing comparison with law enforcement bodies, he added that employees at highly sensitive areas should be rotated to avoid any potential for leakages within the bank, even if they are competent in their jobs.

“This is especially important for positions with access to customer accounts,” he said.

Pre-employment screening must also be done for all employees with regular assessments for those in service, he added.

Duties must also be “robustly” segregated, with dual authorisation practices implemented as well.

“That was a substantial amount of money (lost) and I hope measures will be taken.

“Since it was an inside job, the bank must be responsible for covering every single ringgit and sen that was misappropriated.

“Banks must be proactive and they should work together with the victims and law enforcement to ensure such incidents are reported.

“Employee pilferage is not new but it is also not frequent. We must not tolerate it,” he said, adding that harsh penalties and criminal charges must be meted out on those involved.

Such cases, he said, also affects the credibility of the bank involved as customer confidence will drop.

Previously, Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said that four police reports were lodged since early June regarding suspicious transactions, with losses estimated to be around RM24.2mil.

As of June 18, the police have arrested 13 suspects aged between 22 and 52 years old.

Four suspects were found to be employees of the bank.

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