John Awuah -“A person with bad integrity will still steal even if you pay him/her a million”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Association of Bankers, John Awuah, says the issue of the involvement of bank staff in banking sector frauds should not be solely blamed on compensations and remunerations.

According to him, this untoward behavior has more to do with the degenerating moral fabric of the Ghanaian society than remunerations.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition, he described the phenomenon as worrying, one that threatens the confidence clients have in banks.

He said, “It’s a worry. It’s a worry to me; it’s a worry to the industry. Because in some of these staff involvements, we have senior managers, sometimes even executives, we have middle level managers who are very well remunerated who are also involved. So let’s just not situate it on compensation alone, because a person who has bad integrity you can pay him a million he’ll still steal.

“I think we need to look at this in the totality of the situation and contextualize it within the setting of the country where the moral fabric of our society is almost completely disappearing,” he noted.

He explained that the issue is not a case of oversight on the part of the banks.

According to him, all bank workers submit their criminal clearance forms from the police to the banks before employment.

Mr. Awuah, however, noted that whereas the clearance forms only capture prison sentences, it does not capture crimes that were settled without prison sentences, thus, persons found guilty at one bank could gain employment in another bank with a clean record from the police.

He has thus called for the introduction of a new verification model which captures all convictions and provides employers full access to the criminal history of wanna-be employees.

“There is no staff; I can say on authority, there is no staff within the banking system who has not gone through a police clearance system. The banks don’t run the clearance system. And the clearance system, if today George you commit an offence at JoyFM here and you’re not convicted and maybe imprisoned, the police will not have your record.

“So you can tomorrow move from JoyFM and still work like as though you have moved from bank A to bank B. We need to overhaul the entire system making sure that even if somebody has – just like we’re reporting attempted fraud – even if you have gone through a prosecutorial process and there’s a settlement, you’re still culpable, even if there was a settlement.

“So that your database will still go on the police system and when you go and you take your fingerprints and you’re registered there, tomorrow, if you show up in a different suit and you want to work for another bank, they put your finger print there, it pops up, George, you once committed this fraud here and it was settled. You didn’t go to jail, but you’re still a convicted felon because you accepted the offense,” he explained.

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