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Three More Remanded in Equity Bank Multi-Billion Fraud Case

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Three additional individuals, including a former employee of Equity Bank, have been detained due to their alleged involvement in a multi-billion-shilling fraud case concerning unsecured loans at Equity Bank.

The suspects now in custody include two former Airtel Uganda employees who have since turned businessmen, Godfrey Mukwaya and Robert Mugumya, along with Fred Kato, previously the head of Small and Medium Enterprises at Equity Bank.

The group was presented in the Magistrates Court of the Anti-corruption Division facing charges of conspiracy to defraud, though they were not permitted to enter pleas.

According to allegations, Mukwaya, who previously worked as a sales manager at Airtel Uganda, exploited various individuals to set up bank accounts used to swindle over Shs10 billion from the bank.

It is also claimed that Mugumya orchestrated the creation of 179 sham companies to facilitate the fraud against Equity Bank, which resulted in the acquisition of more than Shs35 billion using assorted identities.

Presiding Magistrate Albert Asiimwe did not allow the defendants to plead, citing their connection to a broader case involving money laundering that is set to be tried in the High Court. Asiimwe explained, “This court is competent to address conspiracy charges, but since this matter arises from a case of money laundering, pleas should be made in the High Court, which is equipped to handle such cases.”

The arrest of these three individuals increases to eight the total number of people linked to the alleged fraudulent disbursement of unsecured loans totaling over Shs62 billion from Equity Bank.

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Earlier, on March 20, 2024, five additional Equity Bank employees were charged in relation to money laundering and the issuance of Shs62 billion in unsecured loans to ineligible applicants.

The accused, including Julius Musiime, head of Agency Banking, Erina Nabisubi, a relationship manager specializing in telecom, and three others, faced charges ranging from obtaining credit by deception, money laundering, to conspiracy to defraud.

The prosecution claims that between 2021 and 2024 at Equity Bank’s headquarters in Kampala, Nabisubi and other co-conspirators fraudulently obtained substantial sums by misrepresenting loan applications and the fulfillment of bank conditions by various individuals.

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