It is alleged the employees stole the amount from the mobile money arm of the business. They are charged with theft and conspiracy to commit a felony of theft, as well as an assortment of other embezzlement and unauthorised access to data-related charges.
Joseph Joshua Magombe, Daniel Ssegujja, Jerom Okecho and Irene Kauma were read the charges at Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Court and remanded to Luzira prison to await trial, although a bail application will be heard this week.
The accused were charged alongside four other suspects, Edrisa Sserunkuma, Henry Matovu, Joshua Kalaba, Peter Ayebale, and Douglas Musasizi, also implicated in the MTN thefts, while an arrest warrant was requested for MTN trainee Tamasha Namirembe.
The arrests are the latest in a string of claims laid by MTN Uganda over the past months, alleging fraudulent activities on the part of employees which has lost the company up to USh9 billion (US$3.4 million) from the mobile money arm of the business.
MTN has been quick to reassure customers that none of the stolen money was taken from customer funds, but from MTN’s internal funds.
According to the operator, the thefts occurred through employees taking advantage of gaps left in the mobile money internal system while systems were being updated. It is also suggested funds were taken from the company’s suspense account - the account where funds sent to incorrect or non-existent numbers are stored for tracing.