THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange-listed NMB Holdings’ principal company, NMB Bank Ltd, was last weekend broken into by unknown criminals who stole five key computer hard
drives and memory bodies.
Sources at NMB said the sophisticated break-and-enter crime – first reported in the Standard – occurred between Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning.
“We suspect the break-in occurred between 11pm on Friday, February 6 and the early hours of Saturday, the following day,” a source said. “Our finance director (Otto Chekeche) who was working late on our year-end accounts had left the office at about 10:50pm. So it appears like the crime took place between that time and early Saturday morning.”
The case came as it emerged that another big indigenous commercial bank, two well-known international accounting firms, a giant mining house and a staff recruiting company recently lost their computer hard drives and memory cards to theft in similar circumstances.
The Business Tribune newspaper was also recently stripped of its computer components in a similar incident. In all cases it was suspected that the burglars, whose execution of the crimes appears very professional, wanted information, as opposed to mere theft of equipment for resale.
The thieves at NMB managed to evade the bank’s elaborate security system from the ground level through to the fourth floor at Unity Court along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue targeting the offices of managing director Julius Makoni, deputy managing director James Mushore and head of retail banking Livison Puzuzi.
The intruders first targeted Makoni’s office and managed to break through the partition into Mushore’s office. It appeared as if they had access codes and keys to the bank’s headquarters.
After finding their way in through the computer-controlled locking system and into two main offices, the burglars used candles as they ransacked through the well-furnished offices, dismantled four computers and got away with hard drives and memories as well the central processing units.
They also stole two cellphones, a Motorola and Samsung, and expensive watches and gold chains, all worth millions of dollars. However, in all offices, including Puzuzi’s, the criminals strangely ignored other valuable items like DStv decoders and presents which the bank executives had bought for their relatives and friends. This has raised questions about the motives behind the burglary.
“We don’t know what they wanted but they targeted computers of some key bank executives. They did not really steal a lot of other valuables,” a source said.
“It is difficult to say what their motives were but if they were looking for information it is unfortunate for them because Makoni and Mushore’s computers did not have a lot of business-related information.”
The case was reported to the police who are understood to be still investigating.