Fraudulent Mobile Money Transactions by Staff cost MTN billions

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Mobile telecoms operator MTN Uganda has a history of losses resulting from internal misappropriation of funds. In a number of cases, former employees — mainly trade developers, mobile money agents and cleaners of contracted cleaning agencies — have faced convictions for defrauding the company.

In a recent incident, illegal transactions on the company’s information system saw MTN Uganda lose over Ush3 billion. A digital forensic examiner who inspected a computer and external hard drive suspected to have been used in the transactions concluded that the persons wired the money to accounts of seven registered agents across Kampala.

Some of the money was confirmed to have been authorized to Hari telecom and Phone accessory, Rukungiri district employees, Tayira Enterprise  Rubaga, Wesley  Investment  Limited. The former MTN employees accused include Joseph Joshua Magombe MTN mobile money agent, Daniel Ssegujja sales representative, Irene Kauma sales executive for Essy mobile money, Jerom Oketcho, Jackchin retention executive with MTN and Tamasha Namirembe a trainee with MTN.

The suspects were arraigned before the court where they were accused of stealing some USh 3.15 billion at MTN offices on Yusuf Lule road in Kampala, Uganda. They were also accused of conspiracy to commit felony, theft, and receiving and retaining stolen property. The nine denied the charges.

It is believed that the suspects installed password skimming devices on computers belonging to the mobile operator to facilitate fraud during the odd hours in order to avoid suspicion. They risk a jail term of between seven and10 years if found guilty under the Uganda’s penal code.