–Donor claims cashier was hesitant to provide him with proper receipt
–Bank clarifies its position, apologises for staff’s ‘negligence’
LAHORE: Last week Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to the nation in a brief televised address to appeal for donations to the Diamer-Basha and Mohmand Dams Fund set up by the Supreme Court (SC). Thereafter, resident and overseas Pakistanis have responded overwhelmingly to the national cause, raising the amount to Rs3.2 billion that continues to soar as more and more donations pour in.
Amid the active fundraising, an alleged fraud in the name of the said fund has been reported, in which, the employee of a private bank in Lahore was “caught transferring the donated funds to an anonymous account”.
“I filled the deposit form and submitted the funds. The cashier on duty stamped and signed it and told me that the amount had been transferred to the dams fund account,” the donor said.
Not sure if the amount had actually been transferred to the right account, the donor, to the cashier’s “verbal acknowledgement”, asked for a deposit slip as a proof of the transaction.
“My colleague, who was accompanying me, asked for a proper receipt confirming the transfer of amount but the cashier argued and insisted that he had ‘followed the proper procedure to transfer funds’ and ‘could not issue any other confirmation’,” said the donor, adding that both he and his friend walked away confused and disappointed.
However, they decided to try depositing Rs500 from a different branch of the same bank once again.
“This time we received a deposit slip with the account number to which my money had been transferred. The manager of the bank also confirmed that a proper receipt is to be issued for every bank transfer and that the actions of the other branch’s cashier were indeed questionable.”
The donor along with his colleagues then went back to the “defrauding bank” and questioned the operations manager, who admitted that the funds had not been transferred to the dams fund.
“To our shock, he told us that the cashier had transferred the funds to an anonymous account ‘by mistake’ and they were trying to get the money back so that it can be deposited in the dams fund,” the donor said, alleging that the cashier must have done it on purpose or why else would have he hesitated from providing them with a proper deposit slip.
FRAUD OR NEGLIGENCE?
Meanwhile, another employee of the same bank, on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today that it was not the first time a donor had been “conned” in such a way as dozens of cases had gone unreported ever since the fund was set up.
They also hinted at the involvement of some senior banking officials in the frauds and said that it was important for every donor to cross-check the receipt number in the bank’s activity report a day after their contribution.
“In some cases, cashiers just stamp and handover the receipt as the dams account isn’t personal and it is an easy way for him or her to commit a fraud,” they added.
Repeated attempts were made to contact the branch’s Customer Services Operation Manager Faizan Shoaib, but he was unavailable.
BANK ACCEPTS NEGLIGENCE, CLARIFIES ‘MISUNDERSTANDING’:
On Thursday, the bank invited the donor and apologised for the cashier’s “negligence”. According to the depositor, the bank informed him that first, the cashier was unable to issue a proper confirmation slip due to “busy hours and a long queue of customers”.
“They said that he accidentally transferred funds to an account already opened on his system for some other work,” the victim said, adding that as per the bank’s clarification, the second mistake on the cashier’s part was his failure to accept his negligence and defend his actions when he was inquired by senior officials of the branch the very next day.
He further stated that the bank showed them the cashier’s signatures on different documents and explained that had he misappropriated the donation, he wouldn’t have used his original signatures on the receipt.
“They accepted that their staff was unable to handle the situation efficiently and panicked mainly due to lack of experience.”
The bank has also reportedly transferred Rs10,000 to the dams fund and issued a proper computerised slip.