THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, HON. MATIA KASAIJA THINKS THAT IF BANKS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS USE NATIONAL IDENTITY CARDS IN OPENING OF CUSTOMER ACCOUNTS OR UPDATING, DEFRAUDING CUSTOMERS MAY BE REDUCED.
It is true, we have people who are known by more than one version of their name. It is also proper to use names of customers as do appear on national identity cards. However, my experience with people who defraud us, more so those who mobilize resources from outside is: The stealing of our money is very well coordinated. It involves staff in a Commercial bank, Bank of Uganda may not be ruled out and Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) staff or collaborators. If this racket is not checked, the stealing of people’s money will not stop.
Secondly, we have people baptized as a “Bagagga Abato” (young millionaires). This category has guys who put up malls and or buildings out of the blue and nobody seems bothered to question the source of their money.
Uganda requires proper cross checking of funds that come into the country before they are paid out to anybody. What I mean here is: If a person has funds allegedly paid to him, the financial institution should get in touch with the sender of the funds to establish who the real beneficiary is. Money due to me has been stolen because there is this weakness. Banks pay some other party what is due to me. When I go to them, they have one question: “Can you provide proof for funds sent to you”? Surely, a person whose communication was interfered with will most probably not have the details for the funds.
Secondly, there should be introduction of auditing of funds sent from outside. The auditing should be done by an independent entity and not the financial institution.
There are issues with Swift codes - I was told that when funds are remitted, before the beneficiary account is credited, commercial banks do a KYC (Know Your Customer), this they do by verifying the source of the funds, the receiver’s true identity and whether the one remitting is not blacklisted. Upon satisfactory search, funds are released. However, Bank of Uganda as the overseer of commercial banks has a right to stop payments in case they are suspicious of the incoming funds, and when they give the directive, commercial banks have to abide, otherwise, the banks can be closed. This is where the problem is. Banks can without the knowledge of the customer decide whether to release funds and, this is where the system is abused. If these bankers see a flow of funds, it is their chance to label the funds anything, and I see myself having fallen victim of this!
It is not clear how funds through the Swift codes are audited. There seems to be a big chance of customers not getting the funds due to them given that the audit mechanism does not seem clear or is easily abused. And, we have instances where the client communication is interfered with, this, only leaves the bank with the information.
There seems to be (according to what I have gone through) some understanding between some commercial bankers and Information Technology Personnel (ITP) where email communication to bank customers is interfered with and the customer communication is cutoff from those remitting funds. There is a case in point of one Henry Luyimbazi who seems to have penetrated my email and my Facebook account. I have not known what his aim was. It is not clear whether staff of Uganda Communication Commission have no role in this.