Uganda: Court Sets Date for MTN Mobile Money Fraud Case

The Anti-Corruption court has set January 29, 2016 as the hearing date for a case in which former MTN staff are accused of stealing Shs 10bn through a fraudulent mobile money system.

Presiding judge Lawrence Gidudu recently ruled that five out of the six staff members earlier accused of the fraud have a case to answer. The five suspects are Patrick Ssentongo, Joan Nabugwawo, Brian Okurut, Angella Ayo and Eriya Baryamwijuka.

It is alleged that in 2011, the suspects colluded and manipulated MTN's mobile money system to steal Shs 10.2bn through suspicious transactions. They are charged with eight counts relating to theft.

Richard Mwami, the former MTN business manager, who was earlier among the suspects, has been acquitted. Mwami, represented by city lawyer David Mpanga, was acquitted on grounds that he was the one who alerted MTN of the fraud and reported the matter to police.


"I find no connection between Mwami and the case. He never participated in the theft and it is actually him who burst the racket and reported the matter to police. So, there is no way he would have been party to the fraud," Gidudu charged.

The fraud occurred in 2011. MTN announced that no MTN Mobile Money customer lost money, as any shortfall that is realised in the system is automatically topped up by the company. Bank regulations require that if there is any shortfall, the operator, in this case MTN, has to use its own funds to immediately top up.

Mobile money remains the fastest-growing product in Uganda, according to MTN, growing at an average of 39 per cent annually.