Court acquits ex-Stanchart staff in Sh654m loan theft wired to China
Thursday May 04 2023
A Nairobi court has acquitted a former operation assistant at Standard Chartered Bank who was charged with stealing more than Sh654 million in US dollars that was wired to a firm in China in 2013.
Mr Collins Omuga Mackenzie was freed by Milimani senior principal magistrate Peter Ooko saying the prosecution failed to table evidence linking him to the theft of millions from the lender in August 2013.
The court heard that the transactions matched an ID that related to a loan which the bank had advanced to a client (an importer) known as Alaf in Tanzania while the exporter was Morubeni-Etocu from Japan.
READ: StanChart employees on Sh328m theft charge
However, instead of paying Stanchart in Japan, the money was wired to Beijing Grate Land and Consulting Company through China Merchant Bank.
The former employee said his username and credentials were used to wire the funds to a company in China.
“None of the six prosecution witnesses who testified in this matter alluded to the theft of the said sums by the accused person nor did they tender any documentary evidence in support the same,” the magistrate ruled.
Mr Omuga was charged with two counts of stealing by a servant, offences he allegedly committed on two dates at the bank’s headquarters in Nairobi.
The first count stated that he stole $3,791,321, which was equivalent to Sh328 million then, on July 8, 2013, at Standard Chartered Bank, which came to his possession as an employee of the lender.
The second count stated that he stole an equivalent of Sh325 million from the bank on July 10, 2013.
Mr Omuga then worked at the bank as the operations assistant in the trade services department, which dealt with the processing of letters of credit, and guarantees among others.
He was initially charged together with Ms Selina Betty Pamba Sande (team leader) and Mr Mike Samia Oundo but the duo successfully challenged their prosecution at the High Court.
Mr Oumga said in his defence that the fraud was committed by an individual using his staff user name.
The court was told the transaction was done without authorisation and a duly filled form by the client. It was done so fast as the funds were transferred before the expiry of 180 days, which was the maturity period.
But the magistrate acquitted the former official saying the prosecution failed to prove the charges to the required standards.