Senior Court Reporter
THREE Ecobank employees appeared in court yesterday on allegations of stealing US$14 000 from the vault, trying to hide the missing money by replacing higher denomination notes with lower value notes.
Michael Nyamutswa, Tserai Nyamandwe and Aswell Chinopopota appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court charged with theft.
The most senior of the three, Nyamutswa, was the customer service manager responsible for guarding the cash vault and also responsible for central cash depot operations in the banking system. He was responsible for supervising Nyamandwe and Chinopopota, who were employed as bank tellers.
A fourth suspect, Ecobank head teller Munyaradzi Zviripi, is still at large.
Nyamutswa, Nyamandwe and Chinopopota were not asked to plead to the charges when they appeared before magistrate Mrs Tafadzwa Miti, who remanded them to March 23 on $30 000 bail each.
The State led by Mr Thomas Chanakira said on December 2 last year, Ecobank corporate investigations manager Thembekile Ngungu received a report from Nelson Mandela Branch Central Cash Depot that a seal for a pack of US$100 notes was found in the vault with no signatures or stamps on its certificate.
Ngungu launched an investigation and made inquiries which led to Nyamutswa ordering Nyamandwe, Chinopopota and Zviripi to recount the cash in the vault.
The court heard that they discovered that there were three bundles that had 80xUS$100 instead of 100xUS$100 and one bundle had US$20 notes instead of US$100 resulting in US$8 000 missing. Other funds were then found missing.
The four had the job of carrying out a basic verification, which includes sorting, counting, packing and sealing of cash as well as inspecting signatures and stamps when receiving or sending seals to branches and repatriations. They were also expected to keep the bank funds safe.
According to the State, the four converted the US$14 000 to their own use.