What you need to know:
- Two directors are accused of stealing money and property of MTN between 2009 and 2012
Court has asked two directors of Three Ways Shipping Services to defend themselves in regard to the theft of $1,854,777 (Shs7b) belonging to telecom firm, MTN Uganda.
In a Wednesday ruling Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the Anti-Corruption Court held that he was satisfied with the evidence adduced by prosecution, which pinned Mr Oscar Baitwa and Mr Geoffrey Bihamaiso in respect of the 24 fictitious payments amounting to $1,854,777 (Shs7b).
The duo is accused of stealing money and property of MTN between 2009 and 2012 where it is also alleged that they, with intent to defraud, obtained the said money purporting it was for clearing and forwarding services rendered, yet not.
“It is not in dispute at this stage that money was processed fraudulently using unregistered invoices from Three Ways on which were attached bogus airway bills that were not issued by any airline or endorsed by customs. Attached were also bogus delivery notes not received by MTN warehouse,” Justice Gidudu held, reasoning that the money was processed on MTN Uganda supplier payment where money totaling $1,854,777 (Shs7b) was paid using fictitious invoices, which money, it is alleged, was traceable to Three Ways Company .
Court also indicated that evidence produced by prosecution had indicated that Oscar Baitwa was a principal signatory to the bank accounts of Three Ways, which were used to siphon money from MTN. “… they are liable since they participated by facilitating the exit of the stolen funds.
The accused have a case to answer on count one. And having so found, I make no finding on the alternative count of obtaining money by false presence,” Justice Gidudu ruled, noting that in the case of conspiracy to defraud, no theft could have occurred if the accused’s company bank accounts had not been used for a period of three years to siphon money.
“It would be naive and illogical to say that the accused as mandate holders were not aware of funds hitting their company accounts without corresponding legitimate invoices. The fact that the accused (persons) kept quiet from 2009 to 2012 while huge sums of dollars were coming in for no work done renders the accused liable as links in the chain,” he added.
Bogus airway bills
It is alleged that money was processed fraudulently, using unregistered invoices from Three Ways using bogus airway bills that were not issued by any airlines or endorsed by customs. Attached were also bogus delivery notes not received by the MTN warehouse.