Editor's Comment

Deal with ‘white collar’ crimes

THE jailing of an Access Bank employee, who was found to have stolen a client’s money, should send a strong warning to all those with intent on stealing from their employers. White collar crimes such as fraud, are on the rise and we believe our judicial system has a duty to bring the vice to an end.
It is sad when such crimes involve the theft of the property of a third party, in this case, the hard-earned money of clients who are the customers of the bank.
When a theft of such a magnitude occurs, we know that the consequence is the loss of confidence by the clients in that institution.
Any institution, let alone a bank, wants to build up its credibility so that clients can wholeheartedly entrust their assets with it.
Anyone who entrusts their possessions with another person needs an assurance that they are placing them in safe hands and most of us consider banks to be safe havens.
Keeping the money in the bank assures one that it is safe at any time, and so, anyone who tampers with client’s money should not be spared.
The handing down of the sentences against Edwin Musonda shows the spirited fight our judicial system has put up against white collar crimes, which, if not brought to an end, could result into negative consequences on the economy.
Last Friday, the magistrates’ court sentenced Musonda to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour after he was found to have stolen K9 million through illegal financial transactions.
He was charged with two counts of theft by servant, and found guilty on both of them but he will only serve six years in prison because they are running concurrently.
Musonda, an automated teller machine (ATM) card production officer, was under e-business in charge of settlement and reconciliation.
Employees are engaged for their expertise and it is important that they use their knowledge for the benefit of the employer.
Diverting one’s knowledge to satisfy their personal needs above those of the employer always brings about serious consequences, like we have seen in this case.
Each employee should realise that they are part of the development process and their contribution, no matter how small, is part of the larger expected outcomes that bring about the good for all.
Moreover, Zambia offers a number of investment opportunities for both local and foreign investors and such businessmen depend on banks in the conduct of transactions.
It is therefore disheartening that some unscrupulous individuals within the ranks of the bank can begin to have ideas and help themselves with the clients’ money.
This behaviour, like the magistrate, Mr Greenwell Malumani, noted, has the potential to scare away investors. The courts, therefore, have a duty to nip it in the bud before it blossoms.
Stealing money for clients is an act that brings the name of any bank into disrepute and it is commendable that the long arm of the law has moved swiftly to weed out the bad elements that are bent on tarnishing the image of our banking sector.
The fight to rid our society of bad elements should be for both the private and public sector so that we make our country a better place for all.

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