In January 2023, Stanbic bank Uganda sub-contracted a company called Pebuu Limited to supervise Stanbic bank agents in the greater Kampala.
Pebuu, a Fintech (dealing in electronic depositing and bill payment, agent management etc) founded by John Paul Ssemyalo as the CEO together with his wife, was supposed to carry out a pilot project before Stanbic could award them a permanent contract.
Not to miss out on the opportunity despite lacking physical address then, Pebuu went on to hire employees on a probation basis for (4months) period for a pilot project with Stanbic bank.
The contracts spelt out the appointment of digital supervisors whose scope of service was to provide field supervision by visiting the bank’s agents, engagement with the outlet owner/operator, capture and collect all the relevant data using the company (Pebuu) data collection tools.
The scope of work included reporting and logging any issues identified in the field using the company (Pebuu) tracking tools.
“We used to sit under trees to train and conduct staff meetings. We tried to push for an office but our employers [Pebuu] kept on dodging us till the end of the pilot project,” says one of the contracted employees in a petition to Stanbic bank’s CEO Anne Juuko protesting non-payment.
Despite all the challenges faced, work was done and a report was submitted to Stanbic bank.
Satisfied, the bank has indeed awarded Pebuu a three year contract worth millions. This has enabled Pebuu to even set up offices in Kololo.
Behind all this success are some disgruntled staff who say they haven’t been paid.
“Attached here are contracts dated 1st January and it is an amendment of the earlier contracts with the HR Agency firm. The employer has knowledge that employees’ contracts are still valid until the 14th of April and enforceable. However, the employer (PEBUU LIMITED) has not honored section 6 (a) & (b) of the employment contract herein attached. He has continuously referred delay of payment to the client (herein called STANBIC BANK UGANDA LIMITED). It is against this background that we petition your office for the delayed salary and facilitation and urgently call for your timely and appropriate response. The names attached (here on the annex) are for the petitioners (claimants) contracted by Pebuu,” the petition stresses.
According to a petition to Stanbic bank bosses and in our possession, they claim to demand two months arrears (March and April of 2023).
Some claim when Pebuu scooped a contract with Stanbic, they hoped to continue working on a permanent contract basis, but instead were let go.
“Personally, my bosses at Pebuu had assured me that I will be part of the team and work as a regional manager and they went ahead and orally approved a personal fees loan which went bad,” says one of the affected employees.
STANBIC AGENTS DATA COMPROMISED
Because Pebuu by then did not have a physical address, the contractors it had hired would go with all their files at home.
As we report, one of the fired employees went away with data for over 3000 banking agents around Kampala.
The same employee was reportedly in custody of colleagues’ employment contracts which he has also held onto until he is paid.
“I was castigated for leading the petition. I was not paid. I was threatened and asked to go to court if I was not satisfied with the status quo at the award of the full contract. I felt betrayed, I still have the staff files at my home, Stanbic agents still call me up to today. My colleagues chickened out as we were planning to petition BOU and then court. Still worthy to note, Pebuu gave us fake contracts that can’t be enforced by the labour courts as explained by my lawyer,” one of the petitioners lamented.
He further says Stanbic has not been of help and questions whether Pebuu rightly and competitively got this contract but this is a story for another day.
Stanbic bank says it has nothing to do with all this. That investigations into the allegations were done and Pebuu demonstratively proved competent to be awarded the contract permanently.
However, one of the complainants says the bank paid a deaf ear because of some alleged monetary interests by top bosses.
“We planned as a group to petition the bank CEO after failing to meet our bosses at Pebuu, who could not be located since we lacked the office. Personally, I was summoned by the head of agency banking Ronnie Muganzi who questioned me why I petitioned. In that meeting I explained myself very well since I was the head of the team .The head of agency banking insisted that it was an internal matter which we needed to sort out outside the bank. We agreed that Pebuu pays the staff arrears which was not the case. However, the bank disregarded all this and went ahead and awarded Pebuu a 3 year contract worth millions.”
PEBUU BOSSES RUN TO POLICE
Pebuu bosses have since reported the matter to Central Police Station-Kampala, accusing one of the former staff of stealing company property.
Pebuu has also issued a notice disowning the same renegade staffer.
The staffer in question says he won’t be cowed.
“As a team supervisor, I was tasked to carry staff files to my home since we didn’t have an office and I have all the contracts for my colleagues. I can retrieve phone calls and printouts telling me to put on boda before I resigned and the other telling me to keep it as we wait to get an office. So why are they interested in the file? It also confirms that Pebuu didn’t have an office by that time. And my place home was the office given a contract to supervise Stanbic bank work. But I won’t surrender the file unless I am paid. I have informed my lawyer about the police sermons.”
Watch this space for more details about Pebuu’s dealings. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY ANY OF UGANDA’S COMMERCIAL BANKS, MICROFINANCE & DEPOSIT TAKING INSTITUTIONS, SACCOS? CALL/TEXT/WHATSAPP 0777959024 OR EMAIL: email@example.com WITH AS MUCH EVIDENCE AS POSSIBLE.
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