Shs 10 Billion MTN Mobile Money Fraud Case Deferred

MTN Uganda Loses Legal Battle Over Shs2.8 Billion Lawsuit by Former Employee
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The Supreme Court has postponed the hearing of an appeal involving a former MTN finance manager, Patrick Sentongo, convicted of embezzling sh10b. The decision was made by a panel led by Justice Lillian Tibatemwa on November 14, 2023. The new date for the hearing is yet to be communicated.

Panel Members Date of Adjournment
Justice Lillian Tibatemwa (Lead) November 14, 2023
Percy Tuhaise To be communicated
Elisabeth Musoke To be communicated
Stephen Musota To be communicated
Christopher Madrama Izama To be communicated

In 2012, the Anti-Corruption Court, presided over by Justice Lawrence Gidudu, sentenced Sentongo to 10 years for embezzling sh10b from MTN. The court ordered Sentongo to pay sh5b in compensation to the telecom company.

Sentongo appealed the sentence and conviction in the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the appeal. He then filed another appeal in the Supreme Court, arguing that the trial judge did not properly evaluate the evidence and that the sentence was excessively harsh.

Currently incarcerated in Luzira Prison, Sentongo was convicted alongside former MTN cashier Joan Nabugwawo. While Nabugwawo received a fine of sh7.3m or one year’s imprisonment, Brian Okurut, Angella Ayo, and Eriya Baryamwijuka, all former MTN employees, were acquitted.

The court found that between May and December 2011, the convicts, while employed by MTN Uganda, conspired to steal money from the MTN Mobile Money system named FUNDAMO. They created fictitious journals and channeled the money through MTN public access shops, using 17 fake subscribers for this purpose.

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The hearing was deferred after Chief State Attorney Stanley Baine, from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), stated he had not accessed the record of proceedings from the Court of Appeal to respond to the appeal.

Sentongo, appearing in court without legal representation, expressed financial constraints but insisted on handling the case himself. Justice Tibatemwa stated that the court will decide whether to allow him to defend himself or appoint another lawyer.

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