Big Story! How Over UGX 6.5Bn Was Stolen From Stanbic As Managers Connive With Fraudsters


Uganda Police have arrested nine suspects for reportedly stealing $1.8m (Shs 6.5bn) from Stanbic Bank after compromising the financial institution’s system.

The development underlines the vulnerability of Uganda’s financial institutions’ systems to cyber criminals in the country.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the Special Investigations Division in coordination with the Fraud Department at Stanbic Bank, Uganda, “has in custody 9 suspects who are scheduled to appear before the Anti-Corruption Division in Kololo, in connection with a series of computer system intrusions which gave then unauthorized access to a client’s account, where they made unauthorised transfers of funds, worth USD 1.8M, into other bank accounts, established solely for the purpose of receiving the stolen funds.”

The stolen funds belonged to Nile Energy, a multi-million dollar oil marketing company.

At the direction of the Branch Managers, said Enanga, “the funds were withdrawn and stolen, using forged documents of a Kenyan Passport number AK 0849025 and forged inter Account Transfer Forms, all in the names of Mohamed Abdul Hakim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.”

Enanga further shed light on the alleged complicity of Stanbic Bank staff in the heist that has shaken Uganda’s banking industry.

“The suspects 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; Account Number 9030021572615 in the name of Petrom Limited and Account Number 9030018628871 in the name of Famane Investments Co. Ltd,” said Enanga.

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Enanga said at least seven cash withdrawals of USD 495,000, USD 287,000 USD 295,000, USD 90,000, USD 60.000, USD 295,000 and USD 495,000 were made by the suspects, 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.

For instance, on January 24, 2023, cash amounting to USD 295,000 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.

An additional USD 250,000 was also withdrawn on the same day, and Shs 139 million, deposited into Account Number 9030019904244 in the name of Fiona Dede Bwende, who is also a Director of Famane Investments.

Another transaction of USD 782,000 was made from Nile Energy to the Account of Petrom Ltd, whose Director is still on the run.

Enanga said the transfers were made in two installments of USD 495.000 and USD 287.000 respectively and deposited into Account Number 9030021572615 of Petrom Ltd, which was withdrawn immediately.

Transfer forms

“And on the 3.02.2023, a one Tefera Okubalassie Robert an Eritrean Refugee, was intercepted with two Inter Account Transfer forms, with a face value of USD 988,200, that was to be effected from the Nile Energy Account and thereafter, credited into an Account Number of the Director of Petrom Ltd.”

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The suspect also had in his possession, a Kenyan Passport Number AK 0849025 in the name 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 4,900 and Shs 600,000 in his possession; which was exhibited.

Immediately after, three Directors of Famane Investments Co. Ltd, were arrested.

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,” said Enanga.

“So far 12 suspects have been arrested, out of whom 9 are to be charged to court on the 13.02.2023, on charges of causing financial loss and money laundering,” said Enanga.

“These include Robert Tefera Okubalassie, who was intercepted with a forged passport and funds transfer form in the bank; Moses Ayesiga, the branch Manager of Stanbic Bank, Garden City Branch, who allegedly affected the two transfers of USD 287,000 and 295,000 from Nile Energy Account to Petrom Ltd in a fraudulent and illegal manner; Brian Natukunda, a former employee of Stanbic Bank, who introduced one of the suspects 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 uttering of forged documents are being processed.

Enanga said “these 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.”

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Banks don’t usually disclose such cases to protect their reputations and avoid a possible run on the bank.

Cases of customers losing their hard-earned money to fraudsters have been on the rise in recent years.

Last week, Ugandans took to social media to express their outrage over the alarming theft of customers’ deposits from Equity Bank.

Customers say their deposits continue to disappear mysteriously and have since urged police to probe Equity Bank’s management and systems to rule out possible insider dealing.

“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,” said Enanga.

He also urged all banks and customers 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 realized 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,” he emphasised.


Additional Reporting By Chimp Reports

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