Bank worker steals aid money given to Soma victim’s wife

A sum of TL 196,000 that was donated to Meryem Gandul, who lost her husband in last yearand’s disaster that killed 301 mineworkers in the town of Soma, was stolen from Ganduland’s account by a bank employee, according to a report in the Handurriyet daily on Wednesday.
Ganduland’s husband Ali was among the 301 mineworkers who died following an explosion in the Soma mine, a deadly tragedy which has gone down as the worst workplace accident in the history of the Turkish Republic. Gandul found herself burdened with raising her two children alone and well as paying off a debt owed by her late husband, according to the report. Some of the pressure was alleviated in the form of two donations made by the Prime Ministryand’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD), totaling TL 196,000.
The money was deposited into a bank account opened by Gandul and her brother-in-law. However, in March of this year, Gandul heard a rumor that an employee of the bank where she had opened her account had been stealing relief funds granted to the families of Soma victims. Gandul went to check her account, only to find that it had been completely emptied. The bank authorities told Gandul that the money would be returned, that an investigation had been launched into the matter and that she would have to briefly wait for things to be resolved. However, when the matter had not been resolved by May, Gandul sought assistance from the Soma Governorand’s Office, which filed a complaint to the Soma Public Prosecutorand’s Office.
and”According to the information weand’ve received, the [bank employee] in questionand’s contract has been terminated. However, at the moment this personand’s whereabouts are unknown. Following the complaint, an investigation has been launched. According to what weand’ve learned, the money will be returned by the bank and those [family members of Soma victims who have received aid] with time deposit accounts will be reimbursed with interest. This is a very sad event, of course,and” said District Governor Bahattin Atandci, speaking to Handurriyet.
and”My husband worked for 13 years as a miner. I was left with my two children. Iand’ve been referred to izmir to visit an endoscopy specialist. In order to go I am waiting for my monthly allowance. That money belongs to my children. We were left penniless. I am afraid what if the bank gets angry and doesnand’t return the money?and” Gandul told Handurriyet.
May 13 of this year marked the first anniversary of the Soma disaster. No public official has resigned or accepted any responsibility for the incident, despite a public outcry. A number of officials from the Soma Coal Mining Company are being tried for various crimes including and”killing with probable intentand” in a postponed trial that will resume in June. Experts have said that the relaxing of safety regulations to encourage investors and increase profits caused the accident, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has denied responsibility. However, many feel the AK Party government, under which Turkey has seen rapid economic development with work safety legislation failing to keep pace, also bears responsibility for the devastating accident.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman