We have come across information that top managers at the Information Communication and Technology Authority colluded with banks to steal more than Sh160 million in only six months.
An audit has named five senior managers and others as part of the ring that defrauded the agency that falls under the Ministry of Information.
An article by the Standard indicates the suspects were directly involved in the fraudulent cash transfers, which were mostly masked as employee deductions.
Patrick Masika, the auditor who investigated the theft, discovered widespread looting perpetrated by four senior officials. All the withdrawals were just below Sh500,000, the threshold that requires approval of the chief executive, the paper reports.
The officials used fake documents to do hundreds of withdrawals from the authority’s bank accounts cleverly transferring money to the same private bank accounts but bearing different names.
Most of the stolen money is said to have been budgeted for internship opportunities targeting 400 engineering and ICT graduates under the Presidential Digital Talent Programme.
One of the banks is in trouble for facilitating the theft by accepting payments to a single account that had 21 different names which enabled the various transactions.
Reports have it that in one of the payments, the bank account bore the name of employees’ savings society to conceal the fraud and ensure that the transactions passed as if they were staff deductions.
“Collusion with banks is needed for money to be wired to the same account number under different names,” the auditor said in his report.
The use of sacco societies to wire money to a single bank account is a telltale that the scam was well executed and would take a long time to be detected.
The auditor expressed fears that the scam could have been happening for a longer period of time, adding that the loss to the taxpayers could actually be much larger.
The four managers mentioned collectively paid into their personal bank accounts more than Sh20 million, which was booked as per diem allowances.