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KCB on spot as Kasese women's NGO is conned of sh16m

By Chris Kiwawulo

Added 6th November 2019 11:30 AM

According to available details, the fraudsters opened up an account at KCB bank, Kampala road branch, account number 2290865729, and used swift code: KCBLUGKA, to access the money.

KCB on spot as Kasese women's NGO is conned of sh16m

According to available details, the fraudsters opened up an account at KCB bank, Kampala road branch, account number 2290865729, and used swift code: KCBLUGKA, to access the money.

FRAUD

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Uganda is on the spot after a humanitarian organisation based in Kasese accused it of complicity in a fraud where the organisation lost 4,000 Euros (sh16m) meant for poor women to fraudsters.

Rogers Bwambale, the proprietor of Philomena United Women Art and Craft Group, a Community Based Organisation (CBO) tackling needs of rural poor women from Kamaiba Habitat village in Kasese Municipality, Kasese district, said he suspects collusion because the bank reportedly declined to help him when he contacted it.

How the fraud happened

According to Bwambale, the CBO holds an account in Centenary Rural Development Bank, and they wrote a mushroom growing project proposal to a donor called MSA, a German-based Company, for funding.

"We used an internet café in Kasese from where I suspect the fraudsters hacked into our e-mail account.  The fraudsters then took over our e-mail account and started communicating directly with the donor," he explained.

The CBO received the first instalment of the donor funding of sh8m, but after the fraudsters hacked into the organisation's e-mail account around June last year, they reportedly posed as Bwambale and asked the donor to send the second instalment to a new account that they opened up in KCB.

Bwambale said he got to know of the fraud after he called the donor around September 2018, and the donor said he had already sent the funds.

According to available details, the fraudsters opened up an account at KCB bank, Kampala road branch, account number 2290865729, and used swift code: KCBLUGKA, to access the money.

 "I called the donor because the money had delayed. The donor told me they had already sent the money. He even sent all the account details and communication he had had with the fraudsters. The hackers had diverted 4000 Euros to KCB bank. After confirming this, I reported the matter to the police and to the KCB Complaint Desk. I made several calls and wrote so many messages to the bank.

"The bank officers promised to help, but to my surprise, I received a call telling me that my issue was a gone case. To me, this was not fairly done, because I thought the bank would dig deeper to find out who these hackers were, how they opened the account, which teller they used, and the names on their National Identity cards," Bwambale explained.

Bwambale said he also expected the bank to check its Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to establish who the fraudsters are, but this was not done.

According to Bwambale, he has been engaging the bank since September last year, adding that at one time, one of the bank staff called him and told him that the person who withdrew the money is called Lawrence Mwanje.  "But I wondered why they could not have this person arrested."

KCB speaks out

When Sunday Vision contacted KCB over the matter, Diana Komukama, the bank's Marketing and Communications Manager, said; "Thank you for contacting KCB Bank, however, due to Client Confidentiality, we do not discuss customer related matters with the press. We appreciate the opportunity to respond."

Asked whether he was a client of KCB, Bwambale said he does not have an account with the bank, adding that the bank does not even have a branch in Kasese where the CBO operates.

"Our account number is in Centenary Rural Development Bank-Kasese Branch, in the Names of Philomena United women Art and Craft Group. The fraudsters used KCB bank to steal our money, and we suspect some of their staff could be involved because someone from the bank called me some time back and said I should just leave the case because it was a gone case," Bwambale observed.

However, Sunday Vision has seen several e-mails from the KCB Customer Experience desk to Bwambale in which the bank had promised to respond to his inquiry within 24 hours.

The e-mail sent on September 30, 2019, reads; "Thank you for your e-mail which has been received at the KCB Contact Centre. We are delighted to advise that your e-mail is receiving our attention. Your enquiry will be responded to within 24 hours."

In another e-mail on the same date, the KCB Customer Experience Manager, Sandra T. Kaganzi, wrote to Bwambale; "Reference is made to your e-mail received on September 30, 2019, regarding a fraud complaint of 4000 Euros and we revert as follows; the bank has carried out its investigation into the case and has a report ready."

Kaganzi added; "part of the report indicates that the fraudster hacked into your emails and diverted the said funds. The bank, therefore, advises that you open up a police case and will cooperate and provide all evidence required against the fraudsters. Kindly seek a court order to facilitate this process."

Kaganzi also noted that on January 29, 2019, the bank responded to Bwambale's complaint with a letter after it was raised by the group leader Philomena Sisters to Bank of Uganda with this information. "Should you need any further clarification on this or any other enquiry, do not hesitate to contact us," Kaganzi concluded.

But Bwambale pointed out that the bank is being funny because he furnished it with all details, including a reference number (SD 42/20/09/2018) after he reported the matter at Kasese central police station last year. He said they have never received the said report and that the CBO has never received the required help to date

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