Six convicted of stealing Sh5b from Equity Bank

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KAMPALA- The Anti-Corruption Court yesterday convicted former Equity Bank operations manager David Serwamba of stealing Shs4.6 billion from the bank.
Serwamba, who has been on remand for two years, was also convicted of money laundering together with his brother Isaac Serwamba.
Other convicts are: Reagan Okoth, Moses Kalungi, a lobbyist, Mubarak Shafik, a businessman and one Mathew Keeya.

“According to the evidence on record, I find that prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Serwamba deliberately and illicitly channeled the money from the bank as he is charged and I convict him accordingly,” Justice Margaret Tibulya ruled.
During the trial, the prosecution submitted that between March 28 and May 19, 2015, while in Kampala, the accused converted, transferred, transported and concealed Shs4.6 billion to disguise its illicit origin, yet it was stolen from Equity Bank.
The judge observed that the withdrawal of the money was initiated by Serwamba, claiming that the two South Sudan businessmen: Sisco Majok and Ajang Achang had travelled from South Sudan to withdraw the money from their accounts at Equity Bank at Oasis Mall Branch in Kampala, whereas not.
The judge also found Okoth guilty of causing financial loss to the bank.

The judge said evidence clearly showed that he knew the money was being channeled to fraudsters when he approved its transfer.
Justice Tibulya also convicted Kalungi on three counts of money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime. The judge said Kalungi made the wrong entries well knowing that it was for the purpose of paying fraudsters.
Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2013, any person convicted of such offence is liable to 15 years in jail. The offence of embezzlement under the Anti-Corruption Act attracts up to 14 years in jail upon conviction.
Court also convicted Mubarak of conspiracy to commit a crime when he carried a bag containing $500, 000 (about Shs1.8 billion) from Serwamba to Kalungi and in turn he was awarded Shs15 million.
Isaac Serwamba was convicted of failure to tell the truth about the origin of Shs255 million that was recovered from him, which belonged to his brother David Serwamba.
The judge observed that his conduct shows he knew the money had been fraudulently obtained.

However, the judge acquitted their co-accused Moses Kavuma on account that he was not captured on the surveillance camera footage and that he was truthful in his testimony during the trial, which clearly indicated to court that he was merely misled by Serwamba and his conspirators.
Justice Tibulya will sentence the convicts today.

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