Kampala- Stanbic Bank has suspended four employees in connection with a sophisticated fraud scheme in which the bank was fleeced of $317,000 (about Shs800m) that was drawn by eight people in just four days.
This newspaper learnt from credible sources that Ms Mary Nampanga, the branch control manager, Mr Emmanuel Nansumba, a manager, Mr George Olal, an assets custodian, and Ms Brenda Nasila, a teller, were arrested by police early this week after a tip-off from the bank.
Sources, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprimand, told Sunday Monitor that early this week, $317,000 was exchanged at the bank’s Kakira Branch by unidentified men who are currently on the run.
The bank discovered the dollars were fake later after the fraudsters had disappeared with their loot.
The four bank officials, who were released on bond, now claim the fake dollars could have been stuffed in the bullion vans as it was being transported to the regional centre.
Kakira Police Division Commander Moses Muhindo confirmed the arrests but said he did not know much about the matter because he is not the one who apprehended the suspects.
“It is not me who arrested them. It should be Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at Kireka. I was informed by the command centre in Kampala that there was a robbery at the bank on Tuesday. I rushed there and found everything normal. None of the bank’s staff spoke to me,” Mr Muhindo told Sunday Monitor.
He said he did not closely follow the case afterwards but later learnt from fellow police sources that detectives from the SIU in Kampala had been dispatched to Kakira to investigate the incident and make arrests.
The SIU Commander, Mr Charles Kataratambi, did not respond to our repeated phone calls and text messages about the incident.
However, police commissioner in charge of press and public relations, Mr Fred Enanga, confirmed the arrests.
“Actually it is five people who have been arrested in connection to the counterfeit dollar transaction. They claim that they exchanged genuine money and that the fake dollars might have been mixed as the money was being transported to the regional centre,” he said.
“…We shall dig out the identities of the eight people who exchanged money in four days. They came with lots of money which is unusual for that branch. If their identities are genuine, then the fake dollars will be traced elsewhere,” Mr Enanga added.
Sunday Monitor learnt that the eight people presented themselves as customers seeking to exchange the dollars at the branch in four days. Ordinarily, the bank’s tellers are obliged to double-check the authenticity of the currency in cases of such huge sums of money.
It is not clear how eight different customers, transacting the exchanges of foreign currency on different days could all bring a sum of 317,000 fake dollars.
Mr Fred Mugisha, the Stanbic Bank’s communications manager, confirmed the incident and the investigations which he said is going on at the bank’s Kakira branch. However he refused to divulge further details on the matter.
He admitted that at least four staff had been suspended and arrested subject to police investigation.
“I received information that an investigation has been going on. I am aware that our internal audit team has been investigating that particular branch but when it involves criminal matters, we usually bring in the police,” Mr Mugisha said but declined to confirm the amount mentioned.
He argued that such disclosure could jeopardise investigations.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor