Sri Lanka: Bank closes all 26 branches; depositors lose millions
Sri Lanka already spent more then 1.6 billon in the genocidal war against Tamils. Now it is facing its worst economic crisis.
All 26 branches of the Sri Lanka Human Resources Development Co-operative Bank Society Ltd. in the Galle district have been closed, allegedly because of mismanagement and fraud.
Hundreds of Galle residents are reported to have lost their lifetimes’ savings deposited with the Mawanella-based bank and its branches, including those in Batapola and Meetiyagoda, in the Ambalangoda electorate.
Most of the bank’s clients are typical village folk, including farmers, fishermen and cottage industry employees. One irate depositor said the branch managers had projected themselves as “developers of human resources, but the only development they were interested in was developing themselves and their families by swindling unsuspecting villagers”.
According to reports, billions of rupees are owed to Galle district depositors. One depositor, who requested anonymity, described the bank branch managers’ modus operandi: “They would call on residents and invite them to deposit all their money in the bank, promising high rates of interest. They would also promise us jobs at the bank. Potential employees were told they should find customers, and that their jobs would be confirmed only after they had brought in a certain minimum as deposits.”
All people who had their lifetime savings in the bank are now in serious problem.
It is reported that over the past few months employees, believing they had no future prospects with the bank, had started to leave the bank in increasing numbers.
Swindled depositors have formed a protest society and written appeals to all relevant authorities, including the head of the bank’s head office in Mawanella, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Galle, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The letters cite several examples of fraud by the Sri Lanka Human Resources Development Co-operative Bank Society Ltd, and carry copies of incriminating documents.