Six in 10 companies report facing fraud 

PwC says that the increase in usage of digital payments has seen a rise in cyber-attacks in the last two years. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • Cyber-crime, which is 22 percent, was reported as the largest  crime incident, followed by money laundering at 8 percent and insider trading at 6 percent

The 2022 Economic Crime and Fraud report has revealed that at least six out of 10 organisations and businesses in Uganda have fallen prey to economic crime and fraud over the last two years. 

The findings, which are part of the PwC Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2022 for eastern Africa, also note that the increase in economic crime is not unique to Uganda but is well spread across East Africa.  

Presenting the report in Kampala last week, Mr Muniu Thoithi, the PwC advisory and forensics leader for eastern Africa, said businesses had reported a disturbing rise in economic crime, which calls for urgent interventions before the situation gets of out hand.

“A concerning 63 percent of eastern Africa respondents had experienced fraud within their organisation,” the report indicates, noting that the findings are way above the 46 percent global rate, which unlike eastern Africa, has been reducing.  

Mr Thoithi noted that organisations in eastern Africa, including Uganda, had reported higher incidences of customer fraud, asset misappropriation, procurement fraud, bribery and supply chain fraud.

However, the region, particularly in Uganda, reported less incidences for human resource fraud, tax fraud, government relief fraud and environmental social and governance reporting fraud compared to the global status. 

The report indicates that cyber-crime at 22 percent, was reported as the biggest crime incident, followed by money laundering at 8 percent and insider trading at 6 percent. 

“It is not surprising that we are seeing an increase in cyber-crime disruption and customer fraud,” Mr Thoithi said, noting that the increase could be due to increased usage of digital and online financial services. 

The survey had more respondents from the financial industry (47 percent) compared to 18 percent for industry and manufacturing.  

Financial institutions have been a key target for cyber-crime, the report noted, further indicating that incidences of cyber-crime were reported as the most disruptive because they mostly go beyond targeting particular sections of the business to disrupting the entire operations of the organisation. 

Mr Thoithi also noted that current trend suggest that cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated, committing fewer but more money-spinning attacks. 

Mr Wilbrod Owor, the Uganda Bankers Association executive director, said there was need to make cyber-crime a risky business, noting that criminals have taken advantage of the shift to the digital economy to steal from Ugandans, which threatens the attainment of a cashless economy. 

A recent report by KPMG indicated that East Africa has one of the highest rates of cyber-attacks, attributed to a rise in cashless payments and remote working.  

Mr Lawrence Semakula, the Accountant General, said collusion remains the biggest mode through which government officials perpetuate economic crime and fraud, noting that even increased pay has not been good enough in avert theft in government. 

Ms Julianne Mweheire, the Uganda Communications Commission director of industry affairs and content development, said the PwC report corroborates their findings, noting that a new regulation passed under the Security Docket will ferociously deal with economic crime.