Wipro, the information technology to soaps conglomerate, says it is unlikely, at least for now, to file a formal complaint against the employee who recently siphoned off around $4 million (around Rs 18 crore) from the company’s bank account by accessing a colleague’s password.
Instead, it says it is satisfied with the progress it has made by resorting to ‘dialogue’ with the employee as suggested by an internal investigation team, aided by external counsels. Based on the suggestions of the team, the company claims it managed to recover almost half the siphoned money.
The company said the employee had been dismissed after the fraud came to light but did not comment on his whereabouts.
“We have an investigation team which is looking at the matter. Based on its recommendations, we have taken, and are taking appropriate action, against the said employee,” Rajendra K Shreemal, VP and Corporate Treasurer of Wipro told . He added that the company had not filed a case either with the local police or with the state police’s cybercrime cell against the employee. The cybercrime cell confirmed this.
A qualified chartered accountant (CA), the ‘fraudster’ had joined Wipro a little over three years ago, and this was his first job. He was a junior employee in Wipro’s multimember ‘Controllership’ division in the finance department, which is responsible for maintaining its financial books and has powers to authorise payments.
Though he reported to the chief controller, a person familiar with the structure in Wipro’s financial department said “he was given an independent role in the company’s treasury department” as the company considered him “extremely intelligent” and “trustworthy”. “However, history has taught us that ‘brainy and smart guys’ commit financial frauds and so has been the case with Wipro”.
Had Wipro done a proper background verification of the employee? Shreemal says: “He was very good, with a good family background and reference. This is just a one-off case, and this was clearly a use of non-adhering to company policy.”
Experts say while the role of the audit committee that failed to get a whiff of the happenings is under question, this has also raised doubt about the internal audit system in the company. A chartered accountant, who wished not to be named, said: “Big organisations like Wipro have a strong internal audit division which reports directly to the company chairman. It falls within their ambit to check financial misappropriation like this, since this might have happened off the balance sheet and hence which did not enter the audit.”
Meanwhile, Wipro replaced all employees in the affected division, which is also normally due at some stage. The leadership of the controllership division was also changed.