Cairo Bank MD Summoned Over Shs165bn

The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Anti-corruption division has summoned the Managing director of Cairo International Bank over the alleged theft of Shs165bn meant for pensioners.

Cairo Bank MD Darwish sharing wise counsel from the Bank's head of legal department Akampulira (Photo by Alex Bukumunhe)
Cairo Bank MD Darwish sharing wise counsel from the Bank’s head of legal department Akampulira (Photo by Alex Bukumunhe)

Osama Darwish was summoned together with the Bank’s Security Manager Mohammed Abdel Fatah Abbas on July 27, 2015 to respond to queries from the ongoing review of the Shs165bn Pension case which is against the Bank and Ministry of Public Service officials.

“Our Prosecution team reviewing the evidence so far gathered in the matter has in the process found it necessary to seek for further clarification on some of the issues pursuant to section 27A of the police Act. This is therefore, to request you to report to the office of the Deputy Director, Special Investigations Division Kireka on July 30, 2015 for an interview and statement recording,” reads in part the Criminal Summons issued by Assistant DPP, Anti-corruption Diovision Jane Frances Abodo on behalf of the DPP Mike Chibita.

The summons also urge the both Darwish and Osama to take along with them files and other documents regarding Pension payments effected through their bank for  the period of 2008 to 2012.

The two summons have since been received but by press time we could not reach the Bank’s Head Legal Clare Akampulira as her phone was not going through.

Why The Summons

The two directors were supposed to take plea on behalf of the Bank following the DPP’s decision to charge it along with its former Managing Director Operation Tareq Mohammed and the Pension bosses.

Earlier investigations in this case revealed that the Bank’s General Manager, Mohammed Tarek was charging an abnormal charge of 2% plus Shs150,000 and more per transaction which was posted to the Bank Commission Account. It is said Darwish who is also the Head of Treasury in Cairo Bank, was investing the Pensioners’ money in the money market business for a certain period and the Bank was earning a lot of interest which he would in turn share with his Egyptian-fellow employees and local employees in form of huge bonus.

The DPP first charged former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey, former Permanent Secretary Jimmy Lwamafa, former Director for Research and Development Steven Kunsa Kiwanuka, former senior Accounts Assistant David Japins Oloka, former information system analyst Francis Lubega and former account assistant Steven Lwanga.

They were facing charges of embezzlement, neglect of duty, theft and conspiracy to defraud government of Uganda of Shs165bn together with Ishaka Sentongo Assistant Manager Operations Cairo Bank and Rahmah Nakigozi Mugeere Compliance Officer, Cairo Bank and Peter Ssajjabi the Secretary East African Community Beneficiaries Association).

He later amended the charge sheet to include the Bank and Tareq but on April 22, 2014 when they were supposed to appear and take plea, their lawyer Macdosman Kabega, Enos Tumusiime turned up with an interim order issued by the registrar of the High Court Civil Division restraining the Chief Magistrate Anti-Corruption Division, Sarah Langa from charging them.

The two had filed a judicial review application in the Civil Division claiming the Bank cannot be charged because its Managing Director Darwish had never been summoned to make any statement at the police and it has never been told who the complainant in the case was.

They also reasoned that the Director Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate Grace Akullo had issued a final report exonerating them as opposed to the preliminary one on which the DPP had based to charge them.

Justice Benjamin Kabiito of the High Court Civil Division agreed with them on January 16, 2015 and issued a permanent order restraining their prosecution until when their right to a fair hearing is catered for.

But as soon as the hearing resumed, the defense lawyers of Public Service officials asked the Magistrate to dismiss the case for want of prosecution since the case had remaining in the shelves of her court for close to two years.

“This specialized court was set up to dispose of corruption cases expeditiously, but for the last two years, this court has adjourned and adjourned this case and it has now become a ceremony as stated by Counsel John Nsabirye. This case is dismissed for want of prosecution,” Langa reasoned as she threw out the case on April 13, 2015.

Later the DPP Chibita vowed to do whatever was within his means to ensure this case is prosecuted to its logical conclusion.

He said the Justice Kabiito ruling was a dangerous precedence which he (DPP) was going to fight to last drop to ensure it is set aside.

This was days after the then Attorney General Peter Nyombi advised him not to appeal Kabiito’s decision implying it was too thorough for any court to overturn.

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee also decided to review this case by summoning Obey and his group to answer queries as to how this money was paid out.

The DPP and the Criminal Investigations Director Grace Akullo also launched a review of the case hence the summons.

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