The Drug Enforcement Commission is investigating the theft of over US$400,000 from Barclays Bank Zambia by one of its employees identified as Pamela Gondwe.
Family sources have told Lusaka Times that Pamela who is a niece to immediate past Bank of Zambia Governor Michael Gondwe has shocked the entire family.
“We are all very shocked because it is not like she was broke. She actually grew up in Dr Gondwe’s home. Pamela had money and we are just shocked that she could do such a thing, it is shocking,” a family member said.
The family source added that as Premier Retail Support Staff at the Bank, Pamela was getting about K20,000 a month as salary.
“You can see that this is not someone desperately in need of cash, she probably just wanted to go away and start a new life,” the source added.
And about four of Pamela’s close friends were summoned at DEC Headquarters in Lusaka for questioning.
The Commission is tying to piece together a puzzle of how Pamela single handily stole and concealed US$ 400,000 from Barclays Bank Longacres Branch.
It was discovered that Pamela who is single and without children paid rent in advance last week for her Sisters and Dependents to cover a period of ten months.
And some bank insiders have revealed that two Managers at the Bank have since been suspended following the heist.
“It’s simply procedural. You know the Bank has got systems and if those systems are breached, someone has to pay and unfortunately the Managers are taking the heat. From the way it appears, they could even lose their jobs,” a bank employee said.
“Longacres Branch feels like a funeral today,” he added.
DEC offices also took away a number of bank employees from Risk Department for questioning to help with investigations.
All those questioned were later released.
The Bank on Monday afternoon reported the case to Longacres Police after it noticed that $400,000 had vanished from its US dollar vault.
Since Monday, the Bank Management wanted to keep the story a secret fearing it might harm the bank’s credibility and have a run.
When reached for a comment, Barclays Bank Communications Manager Banji Lufungulo confirmed the incident but declined to comment further for fear of jeopardizing investigations.
But Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo expressed ignorance on the matter stating that no such case has been reported to the police
“Check with other law enforcement agencies,” she said before quickly cutting the line.
And there are reports that Pamela Gondwe’s friends are currently in custody to help with investigations while the Barclays Bank premises in Long Acres are being manned by DEC officials.
Pamela is also author of a book titled ‘Tears in a suitcase’.
A check on her social media profile showed yet she loved traveling and maintained an expensive lifestyle.
She was in a relationship with a Ugandan man and recently returned from a trip to West Africa.
Pamela was one of the people entrusted with the Vault.
It is believed that about two weeks ago, Pamela went to work carrying an empty bag and claimed that she had just bought it from a vendor at Longacres.
She left the bag in the vault room and on Monday, Pamela told a workmate at the Vault section that she had received instructions from the Head Office to get the serial numbers for all the US Dollars in the Vault.
The two then entered the Vault and started serializing the batches of US dollars in the Vault.
Midway, Pamela offered her female colleague a Sausage which was cold and the colleague decided to go and warm it from the Staff Canteen and eat it from there.
Pamela then quickly loaded all the US Dollars in the bag and hid the bag within the banking premises.
When her colleague returned, Pamela had already locked her part and told her colleague that she had locked her part and was on her way to the Saloon for a quick retouch to her hair.
She then used the back door out of the bank to the alley between Puma Filling Station and the Bank through to Longacres market and disappeared, leaving behind her mobile phone.
Later Bank official became suspicious after she did not return and they managed to open the Vault using a master key only to find that US$400,000 dollars missing.
CCTV footage showed her loading the money in her bag.