How corruption exchanged hands between New Mega African Limited boss and Absa bank employee in loan stand off

by Rofina Media
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Absa Bank employee has admitted to having received money from New Mega Africa Limited boss David Abai in a compensation case worth Sh1.5 billion before the Mombasa High Court.

Absa Bank employee: In November 2022, New Mega Africa Ltd. sued Absa over the alleged disclosure of confidential information and data to third parties.

The company demanded Sh1.5 billion as compensation.

In the suit, the company, which transports clinkers from Kenya to Tororo, Uganda, for the manufacture and processing of cement and other related products, accused the lender of financial sabotage and disclosing its financial statements to strangers without consent.

On December 14th, 2022, Abai wrote to the Coast Regional Criminal Investigation officer over threats to his life and witness interference.

The full hearing of the case is scheduled for October 4th, 2023.

Mr. Abai, through his lawyer, Kirui Kamwibua, tabled documents in court in July detailing a series of events from the time he got into contact with the bank and how things fell apart between the two parties.

In a response to Abai’s allegations, an Absa employee identified as Wycliffe Makori, who is the corporate credit manager supporting business banking, admits that he knows Mr. Abai since the two were schoolmates at Bungoma High School.

Mr. Makori, who stood in as the defendant’s witness, further admits that he is fully aware of Abai’s engagements with the bank from the time he opened an account at the Nkrumah branch, Mombasa.

Also within his admission is the fact that he was fully aware of New Mega Africa’s requisition of three loan facilities to finance working capital of transporting from Mombasa to Uganda.

“I am aware that in 2019, Mr. Abai opened a bank account with the defendant through the head of business banking at the defendant’s branch at Nkrumah, Mombasa,” reads part of the statement.

Mr. Abai had specifically accused Absa Bank staff in Mombasa of conning, frustrating, and extorting money from him as facilitation to process the said loans.

He claimed that New Mega Africa was by then facing financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the country.

To support his allegations, he produced a series of M-PESA transaction screenshots made to the staff and even some to their wives and close relatives. This, according to him, was meant to be ‘facilitation’ fee whenever he requested help on restructuring of a loan facility and other interventions to help save his business from grounding.

According to Abai, the bank had promised him competitive support and an unsecured loan facility because of his positive credit score with his previous loan facilities.

His key contact people at the bank were Mr Makori and former employee Evans Murumba, who was the head of the entire commercial sector in the Coast region.

Abai had accused the two of behaving strangely and playing mind games when he requested to access an invoice discounting facility granted to him by the bank.

“I would request the drawdown of the facility in the format indicated in the offer letter,but the bank staff would later introduce the loan drawdown.”

Some of the excuses, according to him, revolved around approvers being away, systems behind down, and that the queues were too long.

In the MPESA transactions that are in our possession, there seem to have been cash transfers between Abai and the staff whenever he wanted a loan facility.

Here is a breakdown of how the ‘facilitation fee’ payments were produced in the Mombasa court.

Makori’s wife, Evelyne Essendi, received Ksh 100,000 via MPESA on 24th june, 2020, to facilitate the disbursement of Sh3 million. Makori himself would, on November 27, 2022, receive via M-PESA Ksh 40,000 for release of Ksh 5,550,555.

Makori also received Ksh 30,000 on September 15, 2020, for the release of 820,000 and another 40,000 in December 2020 for release of Ksh 2,567,752.He also received Ksh 27,000 on April 8, 2021, for release of Ksh 5,000,000.

Evans Murumba received Ksh 100,000 on13th November 13, 2020, via MPESA for the release of Ksh 5,376,147.He also received the same amount on December 17th, 2022, for a total of Ksh5,216,282.

Murumba also received Ksh 7,000 via MPESA in April 2021 for release of Ksh 5 million before receiving another 100,000 and 30,000 in December 2021 for unspecified disbursements.

A whopping Ksh 500,000 was paid as facilitation to Nivana interior which is allegedly managed Murumba’s wife for release of Ksh 36,000,000.The payment was done through a bank transfer on 21st september, 2020.

The monies according to Mr. Abai would be shared among the bank staff behind the push for kickbacks.

He claimed that things would later get worse as the staff took what he described as sabotage and blackmail games a notch higher by allegedly sharing confidential company information to third parties and customers who would later share back-printed emails to Abai detailing the company’s overdrawn accounts

He reported this to Evans Murumba and one Sophie Omondi who promised to follow up the matter but to no avail. Absa Bank employee

At one point, Sophie sent an email to Abai apologizing noting that appropriate action had been taken against the staff. He would later be shocked to learn that the employee had been promoted.

Interestingly, Mr Makori admits to having been receiving the money via MPESA but claims this was part of their long-lasting friendship that has seen them lend each other money back and forth.

“I confirm that regarding the mpesa transactions, the correct position is that Mr. Abai and I have had a long-standing relationship from our days whilst working at Ecobank Mombasa and him working as a manager in Labour Link Ltd, noting we were Alumni of Bungoma High School,” he claimed

He further adds: “The transactions refer to monies exchanged between Mr. Abai and myself on a friendly and personal basis. I gave out money to Mr. Abai being my Friend with the understanding that he would refund the said funds. On the same note, Mr. Abai would advance some monies to me on a friendly basis and I would refund him,”

He claimed that some of the money given to Mr. Abai was non-refundable as it was given on a friendly basis and that there was no relationship between the time of receiving the money and processing of the loans.

Absa Bank employee: This is despite the transaction date indicating that this was done the same year New Mega Africa was chasing the loan facility.Absa Bank employee

Mr Makori claims that Mr. Abai did not meet his side of the bargain to repay the three loans in time Absa Bank employee and that instead he went on to restructure it through the help of the relevant department.

“I confirm that the decision for restructure was made by the Bank restructure team and I was not involved at all in this decision. My work was to recommend for approval or disapproval, but the final decision rested with the business support personnel,”

Mr Robinson Njogu who is a Finance and Banking expert while commenting on the matter said that there is more than meets the eye in all these counter accusations.

Read More: Commissioner Olwande declares get KUTO’s head

“I know the matter is before the court but the statement from Makori kind off opens the lead on what really goes behind the scenes. I find it contradicting but it’s up to the courts to decide not me,

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