New details have now emerged on how corrupt Absa Bank employee were bribed by New Mega African Limited Boss David Abai to fasten his loan approval.
A Mombasa court that the bribe was known as ” a small facilitation fees” and was proved by the Mpesa messages that are in our possession.
The expose began after an Absa Bank employee admitted to the court that he the questionable money from New Mega Africa Limited boss David Abai in a compensation case worth Sh1.5 billion before the Mombasa High Court.
In November 2022, New Mega Africa Ltd. Sued Absa over alleged disclosure of confidential information and data to third parties.
The company demanded Sh 1.5 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 in July tabled documents in court 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 school mates 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 which are in our possession, there seems to have been cash trasfers 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 April, 2020 to facilitate disbursement of Sh3 million. Makori himself would on 27th November 2022 receive via M-PESA Ksh 40,000 for release of Ksh 5,550,555.
Makori also received Ksh 30,000 on 15th September 2020 for 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 8th April 2021 for release of Ksh 5,000,000.
Evans Murumba received Ksh 100,000 on13th November,2020 via MPESA for release of Ksh 5,376,147.He also received the same amount on 17th December 2022 for realse of Ksh5,216,282.
Murumba also received Ksh 7,000 via MPESA IN April 2021 for release of Ksh 5million before receiving another 100,000 and 30,000 in December 2021 for unspecified disbursements.
A whooping 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 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.
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.
This is despite the transaction date indicating that this was done the same year New Mega Africa was chasing the loan facility.
Mr Makori claims that Mr. Abai did not meet his side of the bargain to repay the three loans in time 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.
“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,”