Bank of Africa Uganda Investigating Reports of Deposit Mismanagement
Bank of Africa Uganda (BOA) is currently investigating reports circulating on social media regarding the management of deposits at the bank. These reports, which have been shared on various social media platforms, contain allegations of unprofessional and illegal activities within the bank, allegedly involving fraudsters and high-ranking management.
BOA has categorically denied the accuracy of these reports, but they have raised concerns among the bank’s customers who are seeking assurances about the safety of their deposits.
The Bank of Uganda (BOU), the regulatory body for the banking industry, has not yet provided any public response to these reports, despite several requests for clarification. This silence from the BOU is adding to the growing unease among the public.
The reports in question are in the form of letters dated between September 29 and October 5. These letters, despite containing names and signatures of individuals claiming to be whistleblowers, lack contact information.
For instance, on September 29, one individual named Moses Mukasa, based at Printers Arcade, Nasser Road in Kampala, expressed concerns addressed to the “Governor, Bank of Uganda.” In his letter, Mukasa alleged that he had come across a draft document intended for making false payments by BOA. He further claimed to have witnessed people at the Nasser Road premises processing counterfeit court garnish orders for use at Bank of Africa Uganda.
A garnishee order is a legal mechanism used to enforce court judgments, allowing for the recovery of money from a debtor. When approached, operators at Printers Arcade acknowledged receiving various orders to print documents, some of which appeared to be forgeries. However, they neither confirmed nor denied printing garnishee orders for BOA.
Another letter, authored by Abubakar Kiberu, targeted top management, including Managing Director Arthur Isiko, for allegedly causing a high staff turnover due to mistreatment, particularly low wages. Kiberu, who identified himself as a senior manager, criticized the bank’s management and alleged that underpayment had led to employees resorting to stealing money from customer accounts. He also hinted at the involvement of some high-ranking officials in these activities.
Kiberu further claimed that lending to staff members exceeded established limits and accused some individuals of orchestrating internal fraud schemes to embezzle funds from the bank, including through the use of forged court garnishee orders.
In one instance, Kiberu alleged that over 700 million shillings had been “systematically” siphoned from the bank. He mentioned an ongoing internal audit related to a case involving 500 million shillings stolen using counterfeit Nasser Road garnish orders but expressed doubts about the audit’s outcome, citing the alleged influence of high-paid internal auditors.
The whistleblower called for an independent external audit, suggesting that the Managing Director be placed on leave to ensure that staff members felt safe in volunteering information about fraud cases.
Another letter addressed to the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, authored by Kasoma David, dated October 1, raised concerns about BOA’s consistent violation of policies regarding employee loans, potentially endangering the bank’s liquidity and capital requirements. The whistleblower also hinted at suspicions that BOA might have altered audit reports to present a false financial image.
The letter suggested that the Managing Director had sent the Executive Director on leave to avoid potential accusations during the October Audit.
On October 5, yet another letter, attributed to Kinene David, called for President Yoweri Museveni’s intervention in the BOA matter to prevent a recurrence of issues that led to the closure of Greenland Bank and Crane Bank due to management problems. The letter urged the President to initiate an independent investigation.
In addition to the allegations mentioned in previous letters, this petition to the President also accused some bank staff of providing money to outsiders to engage in financial trading, such as foreign exchange, with the promise of a commission by day’s end. It also claimed that cash was being siphoned from dormant accounts by bank staff.
BOA has responded to these allegations, stating that they are false and confirming that investigations are ongoing. The bank reassured the public that all customer deposits are secure, and the bank is maintaining its operational standards.
BOA, a subsidiary of the Bank of Africa Group with operations in 18 different countries, emphasized its commitment to financial integrity and security. The bank also mentioned taking legal action to address the dissemination of false information and pledged to keep the public updated on the progress of its investigation.