Due to a glitch in its electronic payment system, Siddhartha Bank, an ‘A’ class commercial bank, has lost around Rs 4.2 million. Two thieves apparently used an ATM card which had no balance in it to withdraw the said amount. Police have arrested Jagat Gurung, 57, and Sabitri Tamang, 30, in connection with the incident. The police have also recovered over Rs 3 million in cash from their rented room. The duo is said to have used a foreign ATM card to withdraw money from Siddhartha Bank’s various ATM counters. The two are currently in custody and being investigated.
The series of cash withdrawal began on June 27, when one of the accused thieves tried to withdraw money from one of Siddhartha Bank’s ATM counters in Kathmandu using an expired ATM card. The attempt worked and from then on, the duo went around withdrawing cash from the bank’s ATM booths across the city, with the bank having no idea of these illegal transactions. Only after the duo had withdrawn over Rs 4.2 million cash in under two weeks did the bank discover the hanky-panky.
Starting from Rs 6000, the duo has allegedly withdrawn different amounts in the said period. The police see this as a problem between Siddhartha Bank and Nepal Electronic Payment System (NEPS), its service provider for cards related transactions. According to the police, NEPS did not know of the theft until the bank informed it. This is not the first time NEPS’ faulty system has allowed financial frauds. Previously, too, Chinese criminals had hacked into the NEPS’s system to withdraw millions of rupees.
The reason behind the system’s malfunction is not known. Also unknown is whether this is an isolated event or if glitches like these have happened and went unnoticed in the past as well. This ultimately puts Siddhartha Bank’s customers at risk. The ‘A’ grade commercial bank, which also advertises itself as one of the biggest in the country, needs to fortify its software and reconsider its membership with NEPS to win back the trust of its customers.