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Deposits vanishing from banks

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th November 2011 12:28 PM

A new racket of thugs has infiltrated the country’s banking sector, exposing almost every depositor’s money to the risk of being siphoned off.

A new racket of thugs has infiltrated the country’s banking sector, exposing almost every depositor’s money to the risk of being siphoned off.

By Conan Businge and Samuel Sanya

A new racket of thugs has infiltrated the country’s banking sector, exposing  almost every depositor’s money to the risk of being siphoned off.

According to the Police, five commercial banks in Kampala have already been exposed. 

The Police say one of the longest serving banks recently lost sh125m, another lost sh150m, while a third bank almost had its local and international transfers almost hacked into by thugs last week.  

According to Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi, the thugs connive with bank officials and access personal details of customers.

The thugs reportedly use the customers’ information to crack into their accounts and stealthily siphon off their money. 

At times, the thugs create fake credentials of the depositors. They also block the depositors’ mobile phone lines and repossess them after obtaining letters from the Police regarding lost items, which they use to lay claims from telephone companies.

Ssenkumbi made the disclosure at the weekly press briefing in Kampala yesterday.

He added that in one of the banks, the criminals “asked a member of staff to feed a key logger in the computers of the bank, promising him sh100m.”

But, the bank employee tipped the Police off and ensnared the gang into a trap laid by the authorities. 

A key logger, or system monitor, is a hardware device or small programme that monitors each keystroke a user types on a specific computer’s keyboard. 

As a hardware device, a key logger is a small battery-sized plug that serves as a connector between the user’s keyboard and computer. The device looks like an ordinary keyboard plug, and it is not easy to notice. 

As the user types, the device collects each keystroke and saves it as text in its miniature hard drive.

The person who installs the key logger returns later and removes it to access the information the device has gathered.

The Police say they are already combing through the banking system to wipe out the new crime. The Police have already arrested five men for allegedly defrauding banks and their customers. 

Benedict Ssekabira, the Bank of Uganda director for commercial banking, urged for stronger commercial bank internal controls to prevent the crime. 

“Some banks have lost money because of ATM fraud. But for big fraud, there has to be collaboration between a fraudster within the bank and other fraudsters outside it. The commercial bank internal controls should be strong enough to avert that kind of fraud,” he said.

The Police have already arrested seven men, for allegedly being part of the racket. Two of them, Geoffrey Tusiime and Tonny Nsamba aka Sajjabi, are believed to be the gang leaders.

Others who have been arrested are Paul Wada, Godwin Othieno, Geoffrey Kalema, Allan Turyasiima and Ronald Mukasa.

Meanwhile, at the same briefing, Ssenkumbi disclosed that the Police are investigating circumstances under which a man died in a fish pond in Wakiso Town Council. 

The Police retrieved the body from the pond last weekend.

Deposits vanishing from banks

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