Total sues ex staff over Sh7.5Bn cash heist

Total bosses at the opening of the 200th patrol station in Uganda

Total Uganda Limited, a company dealing in the trade of fuel and lubricants has sued its former employees over an alleged Sh7.5 billion shillings fraud.
Those being sued are Moses Sebalu, the former Senior Accountant, Belinda Nakasi, the Taxation Accountant, Priscilla Nansikombi, the Cashier, Lillian Mboizi Ssanyu, the Senior Treasury Manager, Ritah Daphine Mbabazi, the Procurement Officer and the manager Innocent Tugume.
According to the documents filed before the Civil Division of High Court in Kampala, the monies in question were allegedly stolen when the said former employees connived and posted fictitious payment entries onto the computer network of Total Uganda to portray that sh7.5 billion had been paid by the independent dealers of their products whereas not.
The Court documents dated October 21st 2021 show that Total Uganda operates through contracting independent individual/dealers to operate its service stations who later pay for the fuel and lubricants by depositing money into the company’s accounts. And in return, Total Uganda credits the dealers’ respective service station accounts and releases the products for the station dealer to sell.
However, the evidence before court shows that the 7.5 billion shillings’ fraud was discovered in 2019 following an internal audit for the period between 2016 and 2018 which confirmed that there was suspected fraud of fictitious payments at four of their branches.
The branches are; Total Ben Kiwanuka Service Station, Total Nakivubo, Total Misindye and Gapco Service Station New Oasis.
As a result, Total Uganda now contends that the former employees breached their contractual obligations with the company and caused it to suffer a whopping loss of 7.5 billion shillings through fraudulent misrepresentations and deceit thereby releasing products without payment for the same save to enrich themselves unjustly.
“The plaintiff/Total Uganda avers that it has at all material times exclusively enjoyed and retained the right to sell its products for valuable consideration, and has never authorized the defendants to act in the manner in which they did”, reads the suit in part.
Adding that “, the plaintiff/Total Uganda shall at the hearing adduce evidence to show that as a result of the defendant’s actions, it has suffered severe loss and damages for which the defendants are liable”.
The evidence before court further shows that the individual notices of intention to sue were duly communicated to the respondents on September 21st 2021, but they ignored them.
Total Uganda Ltd now wants the Court to declare that the respondents are jointly and severally liable for breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, deceit, unjust enrichment, negligence, causing loss by unlawful means and therefore they should be ordered to pay back 7.5 billion shillings.
Through its lawyers of ALP Company Advocates, Total Uganda Ltd also wants to be paid general, aggravated and exemplary damages as well as costs of the suit.
The Civil Division Registrar Jamson Karemani is yet to sign on the summons requiring the former employees to put in their defense within 15 days before the matter is allocated to a Judge for hearing.
This is not the first time the former employees of Total Uganda are being taken to court on charges related to fraud.
In 2020, the group together with two businessmen Joseph Bbuye and Deogratius Twagirayezu were arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala on criminal charges of theft of fuel and lubricants worth 32.2 billion shillings. They were however released on bail.
Also on June 8th 2020, a Warrant Officer II Gordon Kababure was arraigned before the General Court Martial in Makindye and charged with causing a loss of 2.3 billion shillings to Total Uganda.
Kababure had reportedly forged 13 fuel cards and pretended that the money was for routine fuel for the Land Forces of Uganda People’s Defense Forces which was not the case.

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