Apart from the daily poor customer service characterizing the Liberian banking system, internal robbery continues to hunt its credibility.
Almost every month, the front pages of Liberian newspapers and the airwaves are saturated with news of theft by no one else, but employees of banks in Monrovia and elsewhere in the country.
At the moment, the court system is conducting trials of a number of alleged bank employees and collaborators for stealing customers’ money deposited in a number of banks.
One case-in-point is an alleged transfer of US$9, 000.00, through internet banking at Ecobank-Liberia by a group of four Nigerian and Liberian suspects to their Nigerian counterparts in Brazil. The Liberian suspects are reported to have allegedly conspired with some unidentified Nigerians ‘residing in Brazil’ through internet banking system and hacked into accounts, transferring the US$9,000 into account number 0043144710787101.
Another case currently in court is a theft of US$300,100.00 involving four employees of the First International Bank or FIBank in Ganta, Nimba County. The FIBank employees are reported to have admitted to the theft following their arrests on February 7, 2015, noting that “they criminally exposed and shared their individual passwords with each other… and as a result… they made away with the total sum of US$300,100.00.”
The issue of alleged thefts at Ecobank and FIBank now in the public domain does not suggest that other banking institutions are not affected. Perhaps, these institutions may be concealing such information to avoid bad corporate relations.
In all fairness, continuity in thefts, most especially by employees of these banking institutions is projecting a very damaging image of the Liberian banking sector. This may even be creating fear among customers whose best places to keep their cash are persistently ‘terrorize’ by internal criminals.
To curtail this and save the image of the banking sector, as well as protect the interest of customers, the Central Bank of Liberia or CBL MUST intervene; and it’s just a matter of mere intervention, but the establishment of the root cause(s) of such persistent internal criminal activities at the affected banks.
Once the problems are identified and properly solved without any form of sentiments in consonance with the CBL regulations, thefts may either vanish or be reduced.