By David Serumaga
I have been keenly following the case of Uganda’s businessman, Hamis Kiggundu (Ham) of Ham Enterprises (U) Ltd against Diamond Trust Bank (Uganda) and Diamond Trust Bank (Kenya) of unlawfully debiting sh120b from his accounts. When Ham had just filed this case, some Ugandans thought that it is just something new in the banking sector but it has come to my attention that there are a lot of people who experience the same challenges like Ham.
In this case, Ham indicates that he provided security/mortgage at Plot No.923, Block 9 located at Makerere Hill Road to support the credit facilities he had got from DTB. After carrying out an audit and reconciliation of the loan accounts, he found out that DTB had taken Shs 34b and $23 million from his account.
However, the businessman wants the Commercial Court to declare that DTB breached the loan agreements entered with him when the bank recovered over and above what was agreed upon in the loan installments and interest payment deduction.
This silent growing problem has been here for long and now that Ham has come up to disclose what is happening to people’s accounts, the public therefore should take interest in this case so that in the future, they do not become victims of the same scenario.
A habit that affects those with billions on their accounts may also affect those with 100,000shs. Some people take it lightly when they find out that a bank has debited some amount on their accounts forgetting that however small it is, it counts and means a lot if cumulatively deducted on each customer’s account.
Regular monitoring and auditing of our bank accounts should be a lesson learnt from Ham’s case because it is an eye opener to some of us who never mind to inquire about unclear transactions in form of direct debits and direct credits on our accounts which can help us detect any fraud and also check on the internal Audit control measures of our banks.
Unlawful debiting of customers money does not only breach the signed agreements between the customer and the bank but also kills the integrity of the bank hence creating mistrust in the banking industry leaving the customers with no option but to embrace mobile money banking. The NRM government has laid a strong ground on political, social and economic growth but when there is science in economic growth that affects the earning of the people, a standard of living of the citizens will be affected as well.
The writer is an active journalist and communications expert.