WINDHOEK - In a detailed affidavit, Ian McLaren, one of the liquidators of the defunct SME Bank describes how an investigation unearthed the modus operandi used by the crippled bank’s senior Zimbabwean employees and directors to fleece the bank of hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to an investigation carried out by Tania Pearson, the former legal advisor of the SME Bank, the culprits under the leadership of Enock Kamushinda, at the time the chairperson of the SME bank, stole at least N$247 million between December 2013 and December 2016. These monies were transferred by way of electronic fund transfer or directly from the SME bank to the recipients of the stolen money.
She identified the thieves as Chiedza Goromonzi who was an administrative assistant in the finance department, another administrative assistant in finance, Simbarashe Magombedze, Valentine Garikayi, the finance manager Joseph Banda and the CEO Tawanda Mumvuma.
Pearson provided a detailed version of the relationships between Kamushinda the various role players who all hail from Zimbabwe who were involved in “spiriting away the SME Bank’s monies; their relationship with one another as well as their connection with a number o external individuals and recipients of the stolen funds”.
According to Pearson, the culprits utilised fictitious and/or false invoices, they issued false payment instructions to the Treasury Department of the SME Bank for payment. However, Pearson stated, those involved in the Treasury Department were unaware of the theft and fraud perpetrated. She went on to say that that the false payment instructions typically, identified a false reason for payment, a false recipient name, but the correct bank account details of the actual recipient of the stolen money. For example, Pearson said, Reason for payment: “Investment”, Beneficiary: “Mamepe Capital Asset Managers”, Account Number: “62511760060”, Bank: “FNB SA”, Branch: “251-655”. Nevertheless, the bank account is that of Asset Movement and Financial Services cc / AMFS Solutions (Pty) Ltd. According to Pearson, AMFS was nothing, but a vehicle used by the thieves to steal and distribute the SME money.
She further said between December 2013 and approximately January 2015 most of the theft was reflected in the SME books of account as purchases of computer equipment and building costs.
“In a further attempt to muddle the flow of funds trial, the finance department also used different account numbers interchangeably with different names,” Pearson said. She gave the example of one transaction in which the beneficiary was shown as Moody Blue, with account number 62090467616, for another transaction the same account number is used, but the beneficiary is stated as Mamepe Capital Asset Managers.
She went on to say that the preferred method used by the fraudsters to disguise such payments was to prepare batch payment instructions and to include the misappropriation as part of batch payments for which legitimate invoices existed.
However, said Pearson, during or about October 2014 and early 2015, the SME Bank’s external auditors questioned a number of transactions which caused the perpetrators to change their tact upon realising they would not be able to account for some N$80 million allegedly spent on computer hard and software. “They now identified Mamepe Capital (Kotane’s company) as an appropriate front to cover up the grand fraud”, Pearson stated. She said the thieves created another fictitious account in the name of Mamepe Capital and proceeded to set off the transactions depicted as computer equipment expense account into this account with individual amounts. These falsified payments instructions were then used to replace the initial, but false payment instructions.
“On the rift of the above false payment instructions, Goromonzi and Magombedze then created false acknowledgments by Mamepe Capital, of receipts of placement instructions for each such payment, which were then copied or printed on a letterhead of Mamepe Capital as if Kotane had issued same”, she added.
2019-03-07 09:19:56 4 months ago