UGX6 Billion Theft Leads to Arrest of 9 People

At least nine people have been arrested by police’s Special Investigations Division in coordination with the Fraud Department at Stanbic Bank, Uganda over the theft of clients’ money worth 6.5 billion shillings.

Police have said the suspects made an authorised transfer of clients’ money to a fake account created by them where the money was later withdrawn. Police have identified the suspects as Tefera Okubalassie Robert, who was intercepted with a forged passport and funds transfer form in the bank, Ayusiga Moses, the branch Manager of Stanbic Bank, Garden City Branch, who allegedly effected the two transfers of USD 287,000 and 295,000 from Nile Energy Account to Petrom Ltd in a fraudulent and illegal manner.

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Other suspects are Natukunda Brian, a former employee of Stanbic Bank, who introduced Kagurusi Dixon Ampumuza (on the run) to Moses Ayusiga, the 3 Directors of Famane Investments Co. Ltd, namely; Oman Ghebreyesus, Fiona Dede Bwende, Elijah Daniel Wanzu, in who company account number, money was received and Ssekito David, the Manager at Freedom City Branch. Other charges of forgery and utterance of forged documents are being processed.

Details show the nine suspects are in connection to a series of computer system intrusions which gave them unauthorised access to a client’s account, where they made unauthorised transfers of funds, worth USD1.8M, into other bank accounts, established solely for the purpose of receiving the stolen funds.

“At the direction of the Branch Managers, the funds were withdrawn and stolen, using forged documents of a Kenyan Passport number AK 0849025 and forged inter Account Transfer Forms, all in the names of Mohamed Abdul Hakim Hussein, one of the Company Directors and a signatory of the Account, of Nile Energy,” Fred Enanga the police spokesperson said.

Detectives have established that the accused in conspiracy with selected Stanbic Bank staff both at Garden City and Freedom City branches compromised the account of Nile Energy and effected transactions in Inter Account Transfers (IAT) and made withdraws using 3 accounts that included; Account Number 9030012835107 in the names of Dixon Kagurusi Ampumuza; Account Number 9030021572615 in the names of Petrom Limited and Account Number 9030018628871 in the names of Famane Investments Co. Ltd.

After transferring the money, the suspects made seven withdraws of USD 495,000, USD 287,000, USD 295,000, USD 90,000, USD 60,000, USD 295,000 and USD 495,000. They purporting to be Mohamed Abdul Hakim Hussein, the Director of Nile Energy, while using forged documents.

“It was also established that Petron Limited belongs to a one Oscar Kyabukasa Lutaaya and Hashur Rahman, as the Directors, while Famane Investments Co. Ltd, is owned by Oman Ghebreyesus, Fiona Dede Bwende and Elijah Daniel Wanzu as Directors, at Freedom City Branch and Garden City Branch,” police said.

Detectives have established that on January 24, thus year, cash amounting to USD295,000 was deposited to Account Number 9030018628871 in the names of Famane Investments Co. Ltd, from Nile Energy Account, which was withdrawn, against a cheque signed by Oman Ghebreyesus and Elijah Daniel Wanzu. This was followed by the withdraw of USD 250,000 on the same day, and Ug.shs.139million, deposited into Account Number 9030019904244 in the names of Fiona Dede Bwende, who is also a Director of Famane Investments.

Enanga explained that the suspect also had in his possession, a Kenyan Passport Number AK 0849025 in the names of Mohamed Abduhakim Hussein, which prompted the bank to verify with the Account holders, who denied any authorisations. The suspect was arrested and found with USD 4900 and Ugx.shs. 600,000 in his possession; which was exhibited.

“Upon interrogation, they admitted to having received the stolen cash, which they used in a Gold transaction of USD 250,000 with Mansoor and Sam Fred. No supporting documents were provided to support the alleged transaction. Efforts are also in place, to trace a one Dixon Ampumuza Kagurusi, the Director of Petrom Ltd, who is still in hiding,” police said.

Security has said the arrests send a clear and unmistakable message to those who conspire to exploit the banking systems to steal client’s deposits and services, not to use their positions and user rights, to steal from hard working citizens and investors.

“We want to thank the Management of Stanbic Bank (U), for boldly coming out to fight this kind of bank fraud. Most bank frauds and conspiracies involve bankers and other conspirators, who identify bank customers with high cash balances and steal it, after compromising the accounts thus putting the bank at a huge loss,” police said.

Banks and customers have been urged to have protective measures and a culture in place to identify potential misuse of computer information and alert the Economic Crimes and Anti-Corruption Division at CID Headquarters. “We also realised that fighting bank fraud requires both the adoption of good practice, and genuine partnerships between the Bank and its clients. Better prevention, detection and recovery of fraud, will help reduce client phobia on their bank deposits and savings,” Enanga said.

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