THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s not the first time that financial embezzlement was reported this year from Vanchiyoor Sub-Treasury, which came under scrutiny after a senior accountant swindled Rs 2 crore from the special treasury savings bank (STSB) Account of the district collector. And there has been a systemic failure in monitoring the working of the treasury department as a whole.
In the second week of April, Rs 50,000 reportedly went missing from the cash desk, which was allegedly stolen by one of the senior staff members.Treasury sources said a newly recruited woman employee was the cashier and she was assisted by a senior colleague, as she was inexperienced.
Though fewer than 10 cheques were encashed that day, at the end of closing, there was a shortage of Rs 50,000. Since the volume of transaction was less on the said day, officials checked with those who had encashed their cheques and found that none of them had taken excess amount.Naturally, the needle of suspicion was pointed to the senior staffer, who was assisting the woman.
However, the senior employee pressured the woman to pay the lost amount from her personal account which she obliged, fearing for her job.However, the news soon reached higher officials at the district treasury. Sources said the District Treasury Officer sent a message to all staff members at Vanchiyoor sub-treasury warning them that if the person, who had stolen the money, did not give it back to the woman cashier, a police case would be registered in the incident.
“The stern warning served its purpose. The woman got Rs 50,000 the next day in her account and the cash was deposited from the Vikas Bhavan treasury. The employees were convinced who the culprit was. But to protect their colleague, they kept mum and did not approach the police,” confirmed a Special Branch source.
One of the employees told TNIE that had that incident been perused legally, the current embarrassment would not have happened. “Sweeping the incident under the carpet seems to have emboldened some to brazenly commit a fraud,” the staff said.
Sources said the present issue could have been avoided had the new sub-treasury officer and the system administrator did their job. They were responsible to ensure that the password of the retired officer was removed.Sources hinted that though three-layered inspections happen at treasuries every year, many inspecting officers are lazy and do not bother to check the transactions thoroughly.
“The officers from the District Treasury, Treasury Directorate and the Auditor-General’s Office conduct inspections separately. But it has become a charade as the inspecting officers are disinclined to execute their task fully. Many of them view the inspections as a pretext for travelling. Because of this luxury, people often vie to get into the inspection teams,” said a source.