KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has requested prompt refunds to all affected account holders following the fraudulent withdrawals of fixed deposits amounting to RM24.2 million.

The central bank said it takes a serious view of the recent reports that large-scale unauthorised cash withdrawals arising from the collusion of financial institution employees with external parties.

“The integrity of individuals working in financial institutions is paramount,” BNM said today in response to Bernama’s queries on the recent unauthorised withdrawals case.

To date, police have detained 14 individuals, including four bank employees to assist in the investigation of the fraudulent withdrawals of RM24.2 million from several fixed deposit accounts.

The police received four reports from account holders and bank staff in early June in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, after the victims noticed suspicious cash withdrawals from their fixed deposit accounts in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

BNM said it requires all financial institutions to put in place strong controls to safeguard and protect customers’ funds and the integrity of the financial system.

“This includes, for instance, the requirement for financial institutions to enforce a strong code of ethics.

“Financial institutions must also conduct thorough checks and screening of potential employees before hiring them,” it said.

The central bank said individuals with records of fraud and dishonesty are banned from working in any licensed financial institution.

It also reminded that any institution involved in such investigations must give its full cooperation to the relevant law enforcement authorities, and take strong remedial or disciplinary actions based on the findings of internal investigations.

“BNM advises consumers to immediately report any unauthorised or suspicious transactions to their banks or the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) at 997 upon discovery, as well as to the police,” it added. — Bernama