Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bothersome Bank

Following the discovery that the Church auditor, in my old Church, had been bogus, Church cheques were found which were fraudulently signed -- yet these were returned to the Church through an attorney. They didn't go through the bank. This recently changed. There had been “fraudulent transaction” in the words of the bank (the Standard Bank). This went through the bank, and there was proof of it. But the bank wrote that one could communicate “only” with the signatories about this: “We regret to inform you.” I said how should one report fraudulent transaction “only” to fraudulent transactors? We live under a constitutional democracy and the rule of law. There are people who govern a Church, and people who govern a country. But no, said the bank: it “needed” to be the signatories. As if, I said, signatories run the Church. The Church, in terms of its Constitution, is run by its executive members, and only its executive members, which is the Church Meeting. The bank requested of me: “Kindly provide us with ... the church’s account signatories ID including their contact details." But at that moment, they had already slipped my mail to the signatories. One thing they conspicuously didn't request was evidence of the fraud. One finds it hard to believe such meltdown in the Standard Bank. OBSERVATION: A few things now fall into place. There was fury among Church finance officers when I took the accounts to “outsiders” to have a look, for an independent opinion. It was reported to me then that a fifth of the Church's payments were not properly accounted for, and cheques were missing. I placed this on record. Now, looking at the above signatories’ signatures all in one place, I see that it is three-quarters of these persons who assaulted me in my robes at the end of my ministry (I did not bring charges). These were persons, too, who by all accounts were at the forefront of damaging my reputation. Above all, I consider: “Who does the bank serve? It serves -- or it ought to serve -- those who are served by the Church” -- or, for that matter, anyone who is served by the private and public sectors. If the Standard Bank takes the attitude that, as a matter of course, one refers only to the signatories, they are not protecting clients' interests, and clients may never know it. One understands issues of the flow of information, yet I have made it plain: “For the record, I am reporting fraudulent transaction.”

POSTSCRIPT: The bank would not respond to requests for a copy of its procedure with regard to handling mandates. I therefore filed a request in terms of the Information Act. This is a needless waste of time and money.

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