On 14th February 2017, Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the high court in Kampala convicted Ssentongo on four counts of embezzlement and Conspiracy to defraud, contrary to section 309 of the Penal Code Act.
The Court of appeal has ordered Patrick Ssentongo, the
former Finance Manager at MTN Uganda Limited to compensate his former employer 5 billion Shilllings.
A panel of three judges, Kenneth Kakuru, Muzamiru
Mitangula Kibeedi and Irene Mulyagonja have also ordered Ssentongo to continue
serving his 10 year sentence for embezzlement.
In 2012, Ssentongo, Joan Nabugwawo, Brian Okuru, Angela Ayo and Eriya
Baryamwijuka, all former employees of MTN Uganda Limited were charged before
the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court in Kampala of embezzlement and fraud.
Prosecution alleged that Ssentongo and others, between May and December 2011
stole money from MTN using the company Mobile Money computer systems called
They did so by creating fictitious journals and exiting money through the
MTN Public Access Shop which was operated by Joan Nabugwawo.
alleged that the accused persons created pseudo person on the system who
transacted as "ghosts" and drained money from the adjustment account
for discrepancy through the dispute account to 17 subscribers and accomplices
such as Nabugwawo and Ssentongo's wife, Saudah Nakimbugwe who was an agent of
MTN. An audit by MTN revealed that Ssentongo and others had stolen from the
company Shillings 10.2 billion.
On 14th February 2017, Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the high court in Kampala
convicted Ssentongo on four counts of embezzlement contrary to section 19 (b)
(I) of the Anti-corruption Act, electronic fraud contrary to section 19 of the
Computer Misuse Act and Conspiracy to defraud contrary to section 309 of the
Penal Code Act.
He found that Ssentongo was the architect of the
crime and used his senior position to orchestrate his scheme. Justice Gidudu
hence imposed a total sentence of 10 years imprisonment upon him and ordered
him to pay compensation of Shillings 5 billion to MTN Uganda Limited.
In 2017, Ssentongo appealed against the decision saying that the sentence was excessive,
that the judge worked on the assumption that the username sentop121 which made
the fraudulent postings were created by or belonged to him (Ssentongo) which
was not the case and that the sentencing was based on weak evidence among other
Ssentongo also said that there was no proof that MTN lost 10.2 billion Shillings and that there was no justification on ordering him to
compensate MTN 5 billion Shillings which he said was excessive and exorbitant.
However, the three judges have agreed with the decision on compensation saying
that the justice based his decision on an investigation that had revealed a
number of properties that Ssentongo acquired during that time; also, that
prosecution had presented before court and investigation report in which two
witnesses that were experts in the field of accounts and audit and IT proved the loss occasioned by Ssentongo.
Certified Public Accountant, M/s Grand Thomston
costed the loss at shillings 9.9 billion within the space of six months, occasioned by Ssentongo through his
The panel also ruled that the appellant didn't show that
Justice Gidudu applied any wrong principle to decide on the amount Ssentongo
would compensate MTN.
The penal also agreed with the earlier ruling that Ssentongo was responsible
for the loss because it was through his account that money was sent to other
pseudo accounts and hence enabled his accomplices like Nabugwawo who was an MTN
mobile money agent to liquidate the transfers into cash.
"The trial judge found, and we agree with his findings, that Joan
Nabugwawo could not have created the money. as she had no access to the mobile
money system," reads part of the judgment. "She did not steal the money from MTN, she was an accessory after
the fact of the theft in that she received the fictitious money and liquidated
it into cash. This enabled the Appellant and others to get hold of it."