Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) detectives have recovered $250,000 (about Shs 933 million), half of the money that was stolen from Metropolitan forex bureau last week.
At least $150,000 (about Shs 560 million) of this had been hidden in Lubowa, at the home of a relative of Joy Katenta, an employee who had been entrusted with $500,000 (Shs 1.8 billion), that was due to be deposited in Bank of Africa. The other $100,000 (about Shs 373 million) was found in Mutungo at the home of another relative.
Katenta was arrested over the weekend after Ali Molib, the general manager of Metropolitan forex bureau reported a case of theft against her and another employee, Lillian Nanyanzi who is still on the run.
Subsequent investigations led detectives to Mutungo, where part of the money had been hidden at a home of a lady who was later identified as a sister-in-law to Katenta. She was arrested and later joined by a 23-year-old man only identified as Brian, a resident of Lubowa, who was trying to bribe detectives with $20,000 (Shs about 74 million) to release her aunt.
CID director Grace Akullo confirmed the recovery but declined to divulge details on the operation.
"It's true we have recovered some of the money but the case is still under investigations so I cannot speak about it," Akullo told URN.
Details about the theft
On July 5, 2018, Katenta was sent to Eco bank, Jinja road branch to withdraw $500,000. The money was safely withdrawn and loaded onto the CITI bullion van escorted by Katenta to Bank of Africa where they were supposed to find another employee (name withheld by police for her security).
However, when Katenta arrived at Bank of Africa, she called in, Lillian Nanyanzi, another employee who had been sent to DTB to deposit some cheques and asked the other employee to go to DTB instead.
The CCTV footage shows Katenta signing for the box of money before entering the bank together with Nanyanzi. Instead of going into the banking hall, the two branched into the toilets and divided the money, each moving out with a plastic bag filled with money.
While both Katenta and Nanyanzi switched off their phones, Katenta went ahead to report to police that Nanyanzi had stolen the money and left her with only $100,000 (about Shs 373 million). Police detectives led by the Kampala metropolitan CID commander Johnson Opal went to Mutungo and recovered the $100,000 and released Katenta on police bond that evening.
Katenta was rearrested the next day on the orders of Grace Akullo after Bank of Africa was asked to avail the CCTV videos which ended up implicating the two women.
Call printouts revealed that immediately after stealing the money, Katenta called her sister-in-law whose identity is still being withheld. When police failed to trace for the remaining $150,000 (about Shs 560 million) which Katenta is alleged to have taken home, they arrested the sister-in-law, also a resident of Mutungo.
A search at the sister-in-law's house yielded nothing but police got a breakthrough when she asked the investigating officers to accept a bribe of $20,000 so as to release her on police bond. The officers allowed her to call someone who would bring the money and she called Brian her cousin and asked him to pick $20,000 off the hidden money and meet the detectives at Nandos.
When Brian reached Nandos, the investigating officers took the money and asked him to come to CID headquarters Kibuli with his national I'D and another who would stand surety for his aunt.
Upon reaching Kibuli, Brian was arrested and asked to show where the rest of the money was hidden. He took the detectives to Lubowa where he was staying and gave them a pillowcase holding $130,000.