The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has strengthened its fraud reporting mechanisms, says Senior Manager: Corporate Communication, Jerome Mutumba.
In terms of improved fraud reporting, the Bank has outsourced its reporting channels to local auditors Deloitte. This step was taken to ensure that potential whistleblowers feel that they can report fraud in a neutral environment. Says Mutumba, the Bank has become aware of the global phenomenon that whistleblowers are wary of making reports for fear of victimization. In order to adhere to global best practices, and in adherence to the new Whistleblowers Act of 2017, the Bank has adopted the new mechanism.
The benefits of the new system are that whistleblowers can report anonymously, in a neutral environment. This applies to the public who may believe that DBN resources are being misused, as well as to staff within the Bank. Says Mutumba, the Bank is both ethical and holds itself accountable for capital placed under its
stewardship. In light of this, the Bank is taking proactive steps to prevent misuse of its funds. Not only is fraud reporting expected to expose attempted fraud, but it will also deter it by creating an environment that is hostile to abuse.
On the topic of the types of fraud that the Bank is alert to, Mutumba says there are three forms at stake. The first is corruption, which commonly consists of bribery, conflicts of interest, illegal gratuities (kickbacks) and economic extortion in which a service is withheld before payment is received. The second is asset misappropriation, which consists of theft or misuse of assets, including cash. This might also include fraudulent disbursements or misuse of payments received from the Bank. The third is statement fraud, in which a borrower or potential borrower understates or overstates assets in order to present a false appearance which can influence treatment of applications and management of accounts after borrowing.
Mutumba goes on to say that the potential for fraud is well-managed by the Bank’s Risk and Compliance function, as well as with checks and balances during the application process. He adds that during the application process, assessment of proposals is done by three independent committees. Post borrowing, accounts are monitored for deviation from terms. In addition, various functions of the Bank observe borrowers and enterprises in situ. The Bank is determined to hold itself accountable and to achieve this, it will continue to review its mechanisms and adopt best practices as they become apparent, he says. Mutumba concludes by calling on any member of the public who has evidence of any form of fraud perpetrated against the Bank to use the anti-fraud communication channels. More information on reporting can be found at www.dbn.com.na