November 12, 2019

Bank of Kigali ATM Loses Rwf 144m, Suspects Claim Machine Is Generating Loss Not Theft

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The branch ATM in question is located on this Kigali Heights complex

Two employees at the Kacyiru branch in Kigali for Bank of Kigali (BK) are in custody over the loss of over Rwf 144m from an ATM, a case they vehemently deny.

The employees Mukasine Jeanine, a mother of 4, and Nsengiyumva Jean de Dieu are in jail over the case. The duo have been in custody since October 12 accused of conniving to steal money from the Kigali Heights ATM.

Kigali Heights is a magnificent commercial complex right next to the Radisson Blu Hotel and Kigali International Conference Center. It is a place frequented by Kigali’s elite.

BK is Rwanda’s biggest bank, and was last week named among the top 100 banks on the African continent.

According to suspects Mukasine and Nsengiyumva, in conversations conducted with journalists secretly, in attempt to highlight their plight, they say no money was stolen from the branch’s ATM, instead that the machine itself has either been generating the errors or other criminals stole the money.

The trouble for this man and woman began on October 11 when they were taken in for questioning by RIB agents over a discrepancy in the amounts of money they had put in the ATM. The next day, they were called back and then arrested, and kept at Kicukiro Police Station.

Mukasine was the branch officer with the ATM PIN used to access it, while Nsengiyumva was in charge of keeping the keys which enable opening of the ATM at that branch. Together, they were in charge of making sure the ATM has money at all times for clients to withdraw.

The duo appeared before Kicukiro primary court on October 24. BK lawyers were unable to produce much-needed evidence such as CCTV images from the ATM.

Then on October 30, court ruled that there is a case for the suspects to answer and denied them bail, sending them to 30 day provisional detention to allow for more investigations by RIB and other instances.

According to court documents, Mukasine and Nsenhiyumva, before their arrest, entered Kigali Heights ATM to put in Rwf 20m cash. Half was put in each of the ATM’s storage compartments.

On October 11, during RIB interrogation, they were told the money was over in the ATM yet only Rwf 7,390,000 had been withdrawn. The suspects could not explain what had happened to the rest of the money totaling over Rwf 12m.

However, while they were still at Kicukiro Police Station, they received letters from BK dismissing them from the bank for causing the loss.

It is the nature of the dismissal and questionable happenings in the court proceedings, that are making the suspects to cry fowl. They say something fishy is happening in the bank and they are being punished over a crime they did not commit.

Some of the details of the case first appeared in local media. During the bail hearings, BK’s did not avail the CCTV camera images from the ATM.

The defense lawyers said the images would have proved if indeed the Rwf 20m which Mukasine and Nsengiyumva entered with inside the ATM was put there, or some of it was stuffed aside.

The other suspicious occurrence is that on October 30 when the judge ruled to deny them bail, they were told that the judge had seen CCTV images.

In standard court procedure, evidence is viewed by both sides. In this case, the defense lawyers did not see any evidence of CCTV camera from the branch. But still, the judge ruled the evidence was there – adding another layer of doubt to the case.

Another issue causing such doubt among the suspects and their lawyers, is that a BK internal report shows the discrepancy of missing money at same Kigali Heights ATM had reached Rwf 144,317,000.

In the bail hearings also, the lawyers claimed that ever since the suspects were arrested, the Kigali Heights machine continued to lose money. Certain amounts are put there, but by the time the notes are finished, a much less figure actually appears as the final figure.

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