More suspects in Shs65bn fraud charged, remanded

More suspects in Shs65bn fraud charged, remanded
The suspects in the dock on Friday.

Three more people among them, a former employee of Equity Bank have been remanded in connection with the alleged fraud regarding loss of billions of shillings in unsecured loans from Equity bank.

Those remanded are two former employees of Airtel Uganda and now businessmen; Godfrey Mukwaya and Robert Mugumya as well as Fred Kato a former head of Small and Medium Enterprises at Equity Bank.

The trio was arraigned before the Magistrates Court of the Anticorruption Division on accusations of Conspiracy to defraud but they were not allowed to plead to the charges.

It is alleged that Mukwaya, a former sales manager at Airtel Uganda used different people to open up bank accounts through which the bank was defrauded of more than Shs10bn.

The state alleges that Mugumya is linked to 179 fictitious companies that were created to defraud Equity bank using different persons to obtain more than Shs35 billion.

Presiding Magistrate Abert Asiimwe did not allow the accused persons to plead to the charges, reasoning that they are joined on the case file involving money laundering that is triable by the High Court.

“While this court has powers to handle the case of conspiracy, this one is emanating from money laundering. I advise that you will plead to the charges in the High Court which has powers to entertain all the cases,” Asiimwe held.

The charging of the three brings to eight, the number of suspects in connection with alleged unsecured loans worth more than Shs62 billion from Equity Bank.

On March 20, 2024, five people among them employees of Equity Bank charged over accusations of money laundering in regard to disbursement of Shs62 billions of unsecured loans to unqualified persons.

The five suspects were arraigned before the Anticorruption Magistrates Court on charges of obtaining credit by false pretence, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

They include the head of Agency Banking at Equity Bank Julius Musiime, Ms Erina Nabisubi a relationship manager for telecom, Fred Semwogerere (Banker), Tumuhimbise Crescent Tibarwesereka (relationship officer and Wycliff Asiimwe a distribution and marketing consultant with a microfinance facility.

The case

Prosecution alleges that between the year 2021 and 2024 at Equity Bank in Kampala City, Nabisubi being a person employed as a relationship manager in charge of Telecom incurred a debt of Shs6.55 billion from Equity bank falsely representing that the loans were being applied for by Najjemba Gladys who she fronted as having fulfilled the bank requirements for accessing the loans whereas not.

The state contends that ns Nabisubi incurred a debt of Shs300 million from Equity Bank falsely representing that the loans were being applied for by Nagawa Latiffa who she fronted as having fulfilled the bank requirement for accessing the loans whereas not.

It is alleged that between 2021 and 2024 at Equity Bank headquarters situate at Church House in Kampala, Ms Nabisubi intentionally impeded the establishment of the true ownership of Shs6.5 billion which she fraudulently obtained from Equity Bank as loan through account number 1032100370335 in the name of Najjemba Gladys purporting that the said funds were applied for by Najjemba Gladys as a loan whereas not knowing that the said funds were a proceed of crime.

The state further alleges that Mr Musiime intentionally concealed the true ownership of Shs18 million which he received as gratification from Mutuuza Stella for having fraudulently processed a loan of Shs700 million from Equity Bank by requiring her to deposit the said gratification on the account number 1013101211316 in the name of Gilbert Rwaiheru Kiiza knowing that the said deposits were a proceed of crime.

According to the charge sheet, in the year 2021 and 2024 at different places in Kampala and Wakiso districts, Musiime, Nabisubi, Ssemwogerere, Tumuhimbise , Asiimwe, Kato, Mugumya and Mukwaya conspired together to defraud Equity Bank of Shs62 billion by fraudulently causing the disbursement of unsecured loans to unqualified people

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