Monday, October 19, 2009

LBDI syndicate

Syndicate uncovered at LBDI

-over US9, 000.00 disappears in thin air

The National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has uncovered a major syndicate at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) in which at least 18 beneficiary’s accounts at the bank have been tempered with.

“About two weeks ago, we uncovered a syndicate that had to do with the withdrawal of our beneficiaries’ money from their established accounts by unknown persons”, NASSCORP Director General Francis M. Carbah alarmed Friday, August 28.

Speaking at a news conference in Monrovia, Mr. Carbah said NASSCORP recently introduced benefit disbursement system known as the ‘Direct Bank Payment Service’, under which the entity assists and facilitates the beneficiaries to establish their accounts at the LBDI, where it periodically transfers an undisclosed amount of United States and Liberian dollars for the beneficiaries to be withdrawn at will.

The NASSCORP boss explained that about 18 of the beneficiaries reported that their accounts at the LBDI were tempered with by unknown persons who withdrew the money in question in addition to L$25,000.00.

“Upon receiving this report, we immediately informed the management on LBDI and requested that they furnish us with the signature cards of those who accounts were tempered and also requested the LBDI management to launch an investigation into the report with the view of establishing the identity of those allegedly involved in the syndicate”, he said.

Mr. Carbah said the investigation also involves interrogation of personnel of NASSCORP that are involved into the processing and payment of claims and that no screw will be left unturned, adding, “as soon as the culprits are nabbed, we will inform the public”.

He assured the affected beneficiaries that NASSCORP will possibly pay the benefits as part of its obligation to the beneficiaries and urged them to remain calm as the entity puts into place additional appropriate control mechanisms that will avoid the reoccurrence of the crime.

The NASSCPRP boss said as part of the control and preventive mechanism, the institution is currently engaged into the re-verification of beneficiaries that includes the scanning of selected documents and photographs of claimants and the issuance of new beneficiaries Identification (I.D) Cards with new security features among others.

“On account of this exercise, payment has been very slow, because each of the more than 3,000 beneficiaries has to be re-verified and re-issued ID cards before proceeding to the bank for payment. He said the new process will remain in place until the exercise is completed.

LBDI President, Francis Dennis when contacted Sunday via mobile phone, confirmed the syndicate, but noted that not a single staff of the bank is involved into the organized stealing. He added that contrary to NASSCORP report; only five of the 3,000 accounts were tempered with.

Mr. Dennis said the money in question was withdrawn by a group of individuals bearing false ID cards of NASSCORP. He however said that the appropriate mechanisms have been put into place to ensure that the situation is brought under control immediately.

According Mr. Dennis all NASSCORP beneficiaries account has not been transferred to the bank central office on Randall Street so as to closely monitor those accounts.

Mr. Dennis said the measures were put into place following a meeting the executives of the Bank and NASSCORP’s Director General. He said state security has already been alerted about the syndicate and that as far as he knows no arrest has been made.

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