Five Equity Bank staff remanded over alleged $16m loans fraud

Five Equity Bank staff remanded over alleged $16m loans fraud
Equity Bank staff in the dock.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Five employees of Equity Bank have been remanded to Luzira prison by the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala, facing charges of conspiring to defraud the bank of Shs 62 billion (approximately $16m USD).

The accused individuals are; Julius Musiimenta, the head of agency banking, Erina Nabisubi, the relationship manager for telecoms, Fred Semwogerere, a banker, Crescent Tumuhimbise Tibarwesereka, a relationship officer, and Wyclif Asiimwe, a distribution and marketing consultant.

The five appeared before Acting Senior Principal Grade One Magistrate Abert Asiimwe, who read them five counts, including money laundering, obtaining credit by false pretense, and conspiracy to defraud.

The court heard that between 2021 and 2024, in various locations in Kampala and Wakiso districts, the accused conspired to defraud Equity Bank of Shs 62 billion by fraudulently disbursing unsecured loans to unqualified individuals.

Evidence presented in court indicated that Erina Nabisubi, while employed as the relationship manager for telecoms at Equity Bank Church House in Kampala city, incurred a debt of Shs 6.55 billion from the bank falsely, pretending that the loans were applied for by Gladys Najjemba, whom she falsely presented as meeting the bank’s requirements for loan access.

Additionally, Nabisubi allegedly obstructed the establishment of the true ownership of Shs 6.5 billion, fraudulently obtained from the bank through an account in Najjemba’s name, purporting it as a loan application when it was proceeds of crime. Nabisubi is also accused of incurring a debt of Shs 300 million, falsely presenting Latiffa Nagawa as the qualified applicant for the loan.

Julius Musiime is accused of intentionally concealing the true ownership of Shs 18 million, allegedly received as gratification from Stella Mutuuza for processing a Shs 700 million loan, requiring her to deposit the gratification into Gilbert Rwaheru Kiiza’s account, knowing the deposits were proceeds of crime.

Also Read: Bank of Uganda silent amidst customer losses in Equity Bank fraud

The court advised the suspects not to comment on the accusations, stating it lacked jurisdiction to try them. They were instructed to plead to the charges in the High Court and apply for bail there if desired.

State Attorney Raymond Mugisa informed the court that investigations were ongoing. Defense lawyers, led by Solomon Webale Araali, requested the prosecution to provide necessary documents for bail applications and trial preparation, which the prosecution agreed to do as inquiries continued.

Magistrate Asiimwe ordered the prosecution to update the court on investigation progress, emphasizing the seriousness of the charges and fairness to the accused. The accused were remanded to Luzira prison until April 12, 2024.