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Shs 65 Billion: Equity Bank probes multi-billion fraud

Equity Bank Uganda has launched investigations into cases of fraud surrounding their Stock Loan and Agent Float financing that happened recently.

The Stock Loan product is a credit facility meant to support entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and large businesses across various sectors with working capital for growth and expansion.

‘Agency float financing’ on the other hand is a loan product to support Equi Duuka Agents with float to continue running their agency businesses.

The fraud is expected to have affected about 65 billion shillings.

Equity management says they are investigating to find out what exactly happened and who was involved, including staff and customers.

“People of interest, including a few of our staff and customers, are currently assisting with investigations by the relevant law enforcement authorities,” the Bank says in a statement.

It also said that it would take action on anyone found to have been involved, in a bid to uphold their standards in serving their clients.

“We hold ourselves to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, and the person/s found to be responsible, whether through fraud or errors of commission or omission will be fully addressed by the policies, procedures, and ethical values of the organization and, where appropriate, the laws of the country.”

Despite this huge amount of money involved, Equity says services to their customers will not be affected or disrupted.

“Despite this investigation, customers will continue to access loans across all our branches countrywide and banking channels uninterrupted,” the statement says.

It adds that the Board of Directors and management are committed to resolving and concluding this matter, and “we continue to focus on our purpose of transforming lives, giving dignity, and expanding opportunities for wealth creation.”

It is not yet clear whether this fraud is an outright theft of money or a result of an error on the side of the bank’s staff, but the management says all this will be revealed during their investigations.

Over the last 16 years, Equity Bank Uganda has built a branch network of more than 9,000 Equi Duuka agents and 58 ATMs spread across the country and serving over 2 million customers.

Equity Bank Uganda is one of the major banks that have met the Bank of Uganda’s recently revised minimum capital requirements, which are meant to strengthen the Financial sector against any shocks.

The subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings Ple, a financial services company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange, and Rwanda Stock Exchange, boasts an asset base of 3.5 trillion shillings as of September 30, 2023.

Credit: URN

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