BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Nedbank Zimbabwe has fired 28 employees for their alleged involvement in an alleged foreign currency scam, which cost the financial institution US$1,1 million.
The bank employees, mostly tellers, were arrested early this year for allegedly stealing depositors’ foreign currency, which they replaced with real time gross settlement (RTGS) balances.
Nedbank, which is a local unit of one of South Africa’s largest financial services group, discovered that the employees were allegedly withdrawing depositors’ US dollars and trading them on the parallel market.
They would pocket the difference in the six-month period to March this year at a time when US dollar and RTGS balances were pegged at 1:1.
The matter is still pending before the courts, but documents show that the bank has already held disciplinary hearings for the employees who were found guilty.
They had been on suspension since April.
According to a letter to one of the tellers seen by standardbusiness, the employees were found guilty of fraud charges at hearings held on May 14.
Nedbank decided to fire the employees on July 10.
A source said the employees had appealed against the ruling and the appeal would be first handled by the bank’s grievance and disciplinary committee.
If the workers don’t get any joy, they will appeal to the banking industry national employment council (NEC).
“The NEC will be sitting as a tribunal to determine the fairness or otherwise of a dismissal based on the submissions from the respective parties such as the employee and the employer,” the source said.
“The NEC will then pass a determination of either to reinstate the employee or confirm the dismissal.
“The composition of the appeal structure of the NEC is: two employer representatives, two employee representatives and an independent chairperson.”
Nedbank’s head of retail Godfrey Mubvumbi said he can not comment on the disciplinary process because it was still before the courts.
“Internal disciplinary processes are nearing completion,” he said.
“Only then can we comment on the final outcome. In the meantime, the matter is also being pursued through the courts of law and it also would be sub judice to comment on that process.”