26 January, 2020

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Exposé: Hatton National Bank Robs Customers And Auctions Their Properties 

A fiduciary relationship is held to a pinnacle between any parties to it, Colombo Telegraph is now in possession of reliable information where a leading bank has failed to uphold this basic good faith and trust to one of its customers failing in its duty to uphold that fiduciary relationship.

Hatton National Bank (HNB), manageress of the Kundasale branch together with her deputy and others have swindled money from one of its customers, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns. The mass fraudulent act amounting to approximately 30 million rupees have been swept under the carpet to ensure the reputation of the bank is not affected.

The more alarming factor that has surfaced is the bank’s failure to make the victim aware of the findings of the bank and proper action is taken. Several requests sent to the bank has fallen on deaf ears as it has not taken steps to be transparent with their victimized customer.

Speaking to Colombo Telegraph the victim, Vinothini Vijeyakumar, related her story explained how she was guided by the said manageress professionally to open an account with them which eventually increased to five accounts. The manageress has then offered to perform services going beyond her role and obtained signed cheques from the victim on the pretext of assisting her with the accounts during her confinement.

“As a reputed bank I fully trusted the bank and never even dreamt the bank will not only defraud me but simply wash off its responsibility by calling me upon several meetings and falsely convincing me that they would amicably come to a conclusion regarding this case for a year. Some of the officials treated me in a mocking manner even regretting about the fact that I’m a mother of three children and a victim of a massive fraudulent,” said Vinothini Vijeyakumar.

“I am currently going under deep mental agony as I’ve lost in the field of my business and in my crib level and I’m also in a catastrophic state of losing all my good will due to the degrading activities of such a reputed bank. I further state that my recycling project has also faced a downfall due to such false activities of the bank and it will completely breakdown once after the auction,” the victim Vijeyakumar further said.

The bank with a malicious intent deliberately averted the auditors by impeding their audit activities.

The bank has fabricated a letter for a fund transfer of Rs.2 850 000 and the date mentioned in the letter is 07.06.2015 but the account was opened in March 2016. ( click here to read fabricated letter)

Priyani Rathnayake – Then Manageress Kundasale branch HNB

Praboda Wickramasinghe – Then Asst. Manager Kundasale Branch HNB

When suspicious arose, immediate steps were taken to freeze the bank accounts and conduct a forensic audit. In their executive summary KPMG, auditors state that “Identified loss was approximately Rs. 22 million. This figure includes the gap between withdrawals and deposits Rs. 18.2 million and a cash withdrawal of Rs. 3.9 million”.

The executive audit report further indicates that it was revealed that there was an Rs. 3.9 million cash withdrawal without a corresponding cheque reference in March 2016.

“Even though, there had been a typed letter with the account holder’s signature as a supporting document for the Rs. 3.9 Mn cash withdrawal, the account holder has not granted approval for this withdrawal. Therefore, Rs. 3.9 Mn cash withdrawal has added in arriving the possible total loss,” the report states.

In addition other fraudulent activities identified through the audit includes unauthorized fund transfers, Unauthorized Overdraft Facility, Unrealized deposits, where the deposit slip with HNB official stamp was not deposited on the respective account, cheque deposits recorded as cash deposit – System status report has printed on the cheque deposit slip as a “Cash Deposit” and Withdrawal of Rs.50,000 even after freezing the accounts on the 30th of June 2017.

Hatton National Bank failing to provide any sort of assistance to the victim has now sought to auction her property which she had mortgaged to the bank at the very outset.

Other than conducting an internal inquiry the bank has failed to take any action against the ex-employees or to assist the victim in recovering the loss. However, the bank is now pursuing to auction mortgage property in order to recover. But by terminating both the manageress and the assistant the bank has not only accepted the full responsibility of the fraud, but taken the onus of providing  relief to the customer as a matter of assuring “credibility” and trustworthiness and reputation of the bank. (Click here to read the letter of termination)

The complaints to the financial ombudsmen or the Central Bank over the matter have not done much to bring about any justice.

According to the victim, the Ombudsmen although have made several recommendations nothing had resulted from it.

The victim currently faces financial losses and the risk of losing assets over the bank’s attempt to auction it and no redress is made to recover the moneys.

On 11th March Colombo Telegraph has sent following questions to the administration of the HNB and even wrote to the Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody seeking clarification:

1. When did the Complainant Vinothini make the Complaint to the bank?

2. Vinothini  being one of the main customer and one who was holding almost  50% of the turnover at Kundasale Branch of the HNB, dealt in Millions in your Kundasale branch complains of a massive fraud –what are the actions the Bank has taken on justice to this valued Customer ?

3. This complaint warrants an internal audit and a high level investigation, what is the status of such audit and investigation ?

4. Did you support and allow Vinothini to get a proper audit done on her bank account-which she was entitled to?

5. You have informed the Central bank that the relevant – Kundasale Manager and the Assistant Manager had been terminated from service – is it not an indication that the bank had taken responsibility and culpability in this regard?

6. Vinothini’s Eco friendly business had been an asset to the National Economy. The fraud, breach of trust has caused irreparable loss to her business, loss of employment to hundreds of people, loss to the National economy, unbearable mental agony to Vinothini. Did you deal with this matter firstly according to business ethics? Secondly on the grounds ethical customer care  and thirdly on humanitarian grounds?

The bank has so far failed to answer to the questions above.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    0

    Dear Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody seeking clarification from your side with responsibility manner .

  • 13
    0

    Is not Dinesh Werakkody a favourite of Ranil W?

    • 9
      0

      Yes John Amara’s son in law as I heard

  • 12
    0

    Dinesh – another UNPer Hooray.

  • 14
    3

    1.why was she fast asleep while 22 million was syphoned out.she must be a billionaire then?
    2.if she was in confinement surely the husband wasn’t was he?Was he also having a baby?
    3.how can the bank take over her property when it is its employees who swindled the money?he is dealing with the HNB,not mrs.so and so or mr.so and so.her lawyers have to file action against HNB.

  • 8
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 19
    0

    Surprised to see HNB had done such a cruel thing to its customers. Never recommend this bank to anyone.

  • 12
    0

    Surprised to see HNB had done such a cruel thing to its customers. Never recommend this bank to anyone.

  • 18
    0

    The issue here is the lethargic attitude by the Central Bank supervisory team in regulating the financial institutes in Sri Lanka. As of late many depositors of Banks and other financial institutes are suffering as a result of corrupt officials at the Central Bank. It appears that the Central Bank is lacking sufficient qualified staff in regulating the institutes and others are conniving with corrupt banks and finance companies. What more can we expect when bank Regulator was headed by corrupt people like Arjun Mahendran and Cabral.

    • 13
      0

      The Central Bank too Is In the Centre of Fraudulent controversy?

      • 7
        1

        These fraudulent activities in banks is not new. In the 80s money from Financial Institutions was stolen by the Minister in charge of the Central Bank himself. This particular Bank, the Hattan National Bank robbed all the safe deposit boxes from the Jaffna Branch in 1990 also. These do not happen by the bank employees alone. It is done for the faith these employees have for the Minister responsible. After all when there are Tamil depositors and the employees concerned are Sinhalese this always happen.

        • 2
          0

          It seem to have no racial preference. My friend and his family lost everything in the safe deposit box after fighting the case over 60 years and when they got the box back, it had only one tea spoon in it and all the jewelry missing. My heart broken friend died out of poverty also his ancestral home was confiscated by a sitting tenant, a property just opposite the police station in Kandy and their case in courts are still not resolved over60 years. Truly shameful that we have a very corrupt system run by heartless corrupt people. All innocent third world people are seeking outside help save their countries from their elected bandits and officials. Rich auntrapaners with much money to burn want to help to clean up the world.

  • 2
    11

    This is only the customer’s side of the story. No Bank will respond to queries from journalists re accounts,

    • 6
      0

      What do you mean?

  • 21
    0

    It was not long ago that sampath bank got caught doing the same thing. And a friend of mine claimed commercial bank stole his money years ago.
    It perfectly demonstrates what i have been saying about Sri Lankans. The population is overwhelmingly filled with liars and fraudsters. I would go as far as saying over 90% of the entire population is like this.
    I guarantee that the bank staff at HNB who did this probably complain about their ‘crooked politicians’ with friends and family. Lankans are world class hypocrites also.

    • 9
      1

      this is a governance issue,not people’s issue.Anyone will rob if they feel they can get away with it,or just get a slap on the wrist.The rotten culture starts at the top and permeates downwards.We need leaders who set an example by their honesty.

  • 0
    19

    After Swiss saga now this woman trying to tarnish our prez and independent insituation
    We need hell of a lot of Dutta Gaminis
    King said he finished off the LTTE malli says he finished it off by himself,but now suspects are arrested by…….still not free Country,FEAR!

    • 7
      0

      @Ceylonees, I think you’re taking this personally and converting it to something totally different direction? It sounds racist too! And its very funny you see people comments with nicknames and do not share the real identity?

  • 13
    0

    CT

    “On 11th March Colombo Telegraph has sent following questions to the administration of the HNB and even wrote to the Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody seeking clarification:”

    Before all these common sense queries it’s only appropriate if you could find out the names of their political patrons are. With their blessings this case will be swept under the carpet.

    What I don’t understand is why the client is so gullible enough to hand over a signed authority to the bank staff to manage their account it’s like “Turkeys voting for Christmas”, in our case it’s like stupid people voting for a notorious National Hangman.

    • 8
      0

      Yap @Native Vedda! I guess it’s all about trust with the bank. And when you do so many transactions for years, you build trust! Right? I know its a stupid mistake by Vino! But I do believe we have a lot to learn from these mistakes and to know how ethically these banks really operate themselves.

      And lastly, I would like to know your real name too. :)

      • 6
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        Brian Joseph

        “And lastly, I would like to know your real name too”

        No thank you, with due respect I am not interested in honorary awards such as LLD, DSc, ….. or Sri Lankabhimanya, Deshabandu, Deshamanya, Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan ….

  • 9
    4

    The Bank robbed LKR 30 Mil from Vinoyhini’s Account..Now they want to Auction her Assets?…

    What are they going to recover from Ms Vinothini?..

    This is really confusing..

    • 9
      0

      KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

      “This is really confusing..”

      Not Really. Were you surprised the clan is not involved in this scandal?

      • 0
        3

        Dear Native,

        You must have heard of Dr Mobius..Haven’t you?.
        Dr Mobius is the Dude who invested USD 1 Billion in Lion Dollar Bonds .
        It was of course before Ranil Aiiyya hired your mate from Singapore .

        He took it back in the nick time..
        Now he is back as a guest of Dr Cabral.
        And Guess what?
        Dr Mobius wants to invest in Real Estate and Financial Services, my two favourites in the Lankan Investment e Portfolio..

        Wonder whether this disappeared Cash is similar to the Swiss Ambassador’s loyal employee’s Saga?..
        I mean to distract Dr Mobius from doing due diligence on HNB.which is one of the best performers in the CSX.
        My Sis has been a customer for nearly 25 years..

        Were you a shareholder in Eelaam Bank.. Wonder what happened to it?..
        If you need a good nest egg for your retirement , it is worth pumping in some of your Kanada Dollars in to even HNB especially, if you want to spend your last years close to Naloor, with the Poosaris taking care of you..

  • 14
    1

    HNB is a racist bank, the workers are stupid as well, I went to deposit Rs 400000 to my friends account, as he wanted funds urgently, the cashier is asking me, why I am doing business with a Buddhist, implying it was a crime of some sort. I had to throw a fit at the stupid woman and her boss, my friend also came and spoke to them. The cashier was Buddhist, and she was saying Muslims should not deal with Buddhist, that’s what I gathered. Must be a nut case or gnansaraya influenced dumbo.

    • 1
      0

      Truly shocking

  • 15
    0

    What sort of bank is this. This only can happen in SRI LANKA. I am really sorry for this trusted customer. Anybody with common sense knows this is the fault of the bank. This bank should pay this money also compensation for this customer distress.

  • 18
    0

    Yes they have Done it to us In 2016 in trincomalee branch.
    Shame on you HNB.
    We stopped all transactions with them since.
    SHAME ON YOU H N B.

  • 23
    0

    1) Congratulations CT on this exposé.

    2) I do not know when the country’s only stand-alone finance and business journal ‘Daily FT’ will step outside its ‘SELECTIVE’ reporting and be more responsible. There is hardly any business or professional personality the ‘Daily FT’ reports on that does not bear embellishments such as ‘highly respected’ or ‘top’! If this was even half true, this country will not be in such a ‘mess’!

    3) It was left to CT to even expose the alleged “Massive Fraud At Sampath Bank” on 29 January 2019.

    4) Even the alleged ‘HNB Tax Evasion’ is of no interest to the ‘Daily FT’.

    5) For reasons best known to ‘Daily FT’ there was no follow-up after its exposé of its damning allegations on 15 May 2017:

    “NDB is on the verge of firing its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for blowing the whistle late, though he did so within the stipulated timeframe.”

    6) Should not ‘Daily FT’ ascertain whether there is anything in COMMON between the alleged ‘HNB Tax Evasion’ and the alleged NDB misdemeanor?

    7) The CBSL ‘Bank Supervision Department’ seems to be in continuous “deep slumber” !

    8) It is hoped that regular ‘Daily FT’ columnist Dinesh Weerakkody being the incumbent HNB Chairman (previously Chairman, Commercial Bank) would get to the bottom of the HNB saga.

    Amrit Muttukumaru

  • 17
    0

    K. A. Sumanasekera This article is not confusing, please take time to read it. Your types of characters are these types of banks are looking for to defraud you. Bank employees committed the fraud . The bank, instead of paying the loss of money and compensation to the customer. The bank ask to pay the customer for their bank fault and fraud.

  • 8
    0

    As per the attached letter from the Central bank, they requested HNB to submit the details report of investigation carried out with internal audit ….. are they respect to CB and provided those reports…???
    If not this is total failure of regulators and HNB not ready to obey the CB guidelines.

  • 6
    0

    As per the attached letter from the Central bank, they requested HNB to submit the details report of investigation carried out with internal audit ….. are they respect to CB and provided those reports…???
    If not this is total failure of regulators and HNB not ready to obey the CB guidelines.

  • 4
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 5
      1

      What generous language. Shows the uncouth level people get to vent their frustrations. Chairman of a bank is a non executive role . The CEO should respond . You need to vent your frustrations somewhere else without being so cheap

      • 3
        7

        As an ex employee of an Institution that he was Chairman. I can say that Mr Weerakkody is an honest, very capable and dynamic man. His connections don’t matter to me. Where ever he went ETF, ICCSL and NHNRDC see the turnaround. It is sheer jealousy . Pathetic to see such vulgar language. Write to the Central Bank they will take it up with Jonathan Alles CEO without resorting shitty language. Sri Lankan’s must stop being so personal and focus on the issues like Mr Muthukumarana. I can’t understand how the women was taken for a ride so long. Why don’t you write about the person in the who did the transaction without slandering people unnecessarily.

        • 6
          0

          Anay Sujeewe.stop white washing crooks caught with pants down ok

  • 8
    0

    Being a successful business woman she should have known better than to give signed blank cheques to anybody and should have checked on every bank transaction. After all customers deal with bank employees even though the bank may be reputed. Why should five bank Accounts be open when she wanted and needed only one. This does not absolve HNB of their negligence. The lady should seek legal redress.

  • 5
    0

    Pump and dump share market speculators made cse chairman new cse, to defraud the retail investors and epf. No one convicted, all crooks, I always say never invest in the cse , unless u know inside information, the analysis employed by the brokerage are crooks, brokers are worse, and regulation is non existent.

  • 11
    0

    We salute Colombo Telegraph for upholding its moto “ In journalism Truth is a process” and exposing the most unethical business conduct of so called “reputed bank “. There is glaring evidence that there is a clear-cut massive fraud by the bank and the bank has condone the fraud either in the guise of safeguarding it’s reputation or aiding and abetting the fraud .
    A fit case for the bank as a first step to stop the auction, immediately compensate the Customer victim before any other action if it really wants to repair its “reputation ‘.
    There are other similar victims as well who are not fortunate enough to bring their cases up like this

    • 7
      0

      They are no 1 crooks ,
      All the branches same.
      It be bankrupt soon , customers not aware all the jugglery in all branches .
      Wait and see the staff will.take all the money and run away.
      After that they will regret
      Very unsafe to put FDs ,
      And do not pawn jewellery I with them .
      Very unethical practices .
      Don’t keep more than 5 lakhs anytime.
      Because they give easy loan to all their friends taking commission and now most of their shady businesses bankrupt and some gambling big .so no way to pay .
      Now all the poor people’s savings and fd gone.
      People say five banks in bad shape , sampath , DFCC, hnb. Pan Asia &Cargils.
      Lot of malpractice.
      Recently there was one case for sampath also.

      People will.cry in 3 .months

  • 9
    0

    Who will want to bank with them.
    The worst customer services and notorious.
    Shit bank

    People should patronize Seylan Bank , Commercial , or BOC
    Heard Zaharan was a vvip customer of this shithole bank no ?

  • 11
    0

    Super job CT

    Well done .
    💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪

  • 10
    0

    If more investigations are done am sure all their branches will have same jil Mart.
    Bloody cheep crooks .
    We must see they who lot behind bars .

  • 2
    1

    @Sammy don’t be a JackAss.

  • 7
    1

    They are at it again and no wonder the island is shitting/sitting on its brains.
    The victim an innocent Tamil lady, who by her valiant efforts kept and hopefully still keeps the Kota UDA economy tickling along and Tamil’s similar to her have to be worshipped.
    The cheaters seem to be Sinhala employees and most likely by their names and pictures are Buddhists too
    Oh to be in Lanka where the Sinhala Buddhists are up to no good. U name it and they do every criminal, vulgar sexual, low acts destroying the integrity of the once rich peaceful to live paradise.
    Cheers, R. J.

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