Total workers remanded over Shs28 billion theft

Sunday November 10 2019

Left to right. Priscillah Nansikombi, Moses

Left to right. Priscillah Nansikombi, Moses Sebalu and Belinda Nakasi leave the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala, after they were remanded on Friday. PHOTO BY EPHRAIM KASOZI  

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

Petroleum firm, Total Uganda Limited, lost more than Shs28 billion in fictitious transactions involving some of the company senior staff and fuel dealers.

It is alleged that the money was stolen through collusion between company staff and the fuel dealers during a period of two years, which compelled the company to commission a forensic audit.

Three senior members of staff have since been remanded to Luzira Prison over fraud in connection with the theft of company cash worth Shs28.7 billion.

The suspected staff are Moses Sebalu (a treasury officer and senior accountant), Belinda Nakasi (treasury assistant and taxation accountant) and Priscillah Nansikombi (a cashier).

The trio was charged with offences of embezzlement, electronic fraud and conspiracy to defraud.

The suspects on Friday appeared before the Kololo-based Anti-Corruption Court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Moses Nabende for plea and they denied any wrongdoing.

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Mr Nabende remanded the suspects to Luzira Prison until tomorrow for hearing of the bail application.

The magistrate said the trial chief magistrate, Ms Pamela Lamunu Ocaya, was out of station.

Prosecution alleges that between September 2017 and September 2018, at Total Uganda Limited head offices in Kampala, Industrial Area, Sebalu, Nansikombi, Nakasi and others still at large, being employed in their respective positions, stole Shs28.7 billion, the property of their employer.

The State alleges that by means of deception and with intentions of securing unfair or unlawful gain, the three accused persons deliberately posted fictitious payment entries onto the computer network of Total Uganda Limited to portray that actual cash payments for the products worth more than Shs28 billion had been paid for by the dealers namely Hemal Kotecha and Tugume Innocent onto Total Uganda Limited’s bank accounts whereas not.

It is alleged that Sebalu, Nansikombi, Nakasi, Kotecha, Tugume and others still at large at Total head offices and other various places in Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso districts, conspired to defraud Total Uganda of more than Shs28 billion.

State Attorney David Bisamunyu told court that investigations into the matter were not complete and therefore asked for another date.

Meanwhile, the court issued criminal summons against fuel dealers; businessmen as well as cash dealers Kotecha and Tugume to answer charges of receiving stolen property.

The state alleges that Kotecha and Tugume received petrol, diesel and lubricants worth more than Shs28 billion knowing or having reason to believe that the same to have been feloniously stolen.

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