• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Taarifa News

Latest News Around the Globe

ABSA Bank Implicated in Data Breach as Former Employee Seeks Inclusion in Ksh1.5 Billion Lawsuit

281 300

The management of ABSA Bank Kenya has been thrown into turmoil and disarray after a former staff swore affidavit implicating the bank for data breach.

The damning affidavit dated 6th December, 2023 details a series of events that directly links a current senior officer and the management of the bank to a data breach  involving transport firm New Mega Africa.

Evans Murumba’s affidavit former absa Nkrumah road boss. Confirming that one Wycliffe Makori did a data breach

The affidavit was sworn by Evans Murumba who served at the bank as the sector Head, Business Banking where he wants to be involved  as an interested party in the Sh 1.5 billion compensation suit by New Meg Africa.

“A source within the bank said that the bank is in turmoil, after realizing that the forensic team and investigators it hired to probe the matter was most likely compromised by the  besieged staff who orchestrated the matter.

Evans Murumba’s affidavit former absa Nkrumah road boss. Confirming that one Wycliffe Makori did a data breach

In the affidavit, Murumba discloses that he had an employment contract with the bank  between April 2019 to June 2022 when tendered his resignation to venture into politics.

Evans Murumba’s affidavit former absa Nkrumah road boss confirming that one Wycliffe Makori did a data breach

His work included overseeing the Bank/ Client relationship with clients where he admits he  had several engagements with New Mega Africa  and the bank’s senior officials at the Coast.

Evans Murumba’s affidavit former absa Nkrumah road boss confirming that one Wycliffe Makori did a data breach

At the centre of the fierce court battle between the bank and New Mega Africa is the bank’s Credit Manager Wycliffe Makori whom the firm’s director David Abai is blaming for data breach, blackmail and frustration.

Murumba had been mentioned in the case as having been a beneficiary of the alleged scheme to extort Abai who was battling to save New Mega Africa from running out of business.

He claims that he is aggrieved by the allegations made in the suit casting aspersions on his character, integrity and professionalism.

Court order, New Mega and absa case coming up on 18th December 2023 before hon Magare Kizito

He admits that he is the one who convinced New Mega Africa to obtain a loan facility from the bank.

“That in the course of my duty, I sought to convince the plaintiff to commence a banking relationship with the Defendant, during which various credit facilities amounting to Ksh,72,000,000 which was advanced to the plaintiff based on my recommendation,”

He admits to have known New Mega Africa from his  previous employment with Stanbic Bank where the firm was banking and he got to know the Director, Mr.David Abai  who was also well known to him owing to the extensive relationship that existed between the firm  and Stanbic Bank.

In his affidavit, he swears that during his tenure in employment with the bank, New Mega Africa operated its credit facilities very well to the satisfaction that on various dates, additional credit facilities were recommended.

“That at the height of Covid 19- the plaintiff was having a lot of transportation work of clinker to Toronto cement Uganda for Mombasa Cement sister company Tororo who had contracted the client and even gave him 11trucks on lease to own basis Upon the increase of the fleet,the plaintiff wrote to the Defendant informing him of the extra need and how they were planning to handle the new growth in business. This was well within the collateral provided since it was more than adequate to accommodate the facility,”

He reveals that at this time the plaintiff had a bank guarantee line in favor of Premium energy Ksh 5million.

“Unfortunately, he had been able to draw down the guarantee since there had been a change in payment period by Tororo cement from 7-14 to 45-60 days which premium energy was not agreeable to. He Returned the guarantee to the bank,” he adds

He says that the bank gave him temporal overdraft line as he looked for a suitable supplier who would not only take the guarantee on the new terms but also give him an extra limit of 5 Million to caution him in the short-run

He adds that he received a call from the Coast Regional head of retail banking who confirmed to have talked to the owner of premium energy who he confirmed had agreed to the new terms of New Mega Africa and was willing and ready to extend the extra Sh 5 Million limit to the firm.

He would later advise the firm to reprocess the guarantee in favor of Premium energy, which the firm obliged with a commitment of having a meeting between the firm, supplier and the bank.

“That on the date of said meeting, the client came to the bank’s Nyali office where I was and we called the Regional Retail manager who never answered and thus the meeting failed leaving the client exposed,” he continues

He claims that at this point New Mega Africa requested for extension of its temporal overdraft line for a further 90 days to enable it to stabilize his business and resolve the deficit.

This request was differed  as per the email written to the firm by Wycliffe Makori- Credit admin in early August 2021.

He further submits that out of this frustration the firm wrote to the bank to consolidate all its facilities to one term loan aligning to the one with the longest remaining repayment period.

This is where the whole circus of drama with many push and pull games begun as per Murumba’s affidavit

“That I requested the bank’s Credit Manager Wycliffe Makori- to prepare a Credit proposal seeking for the restructure and submit it for approval. In the meantime, I requested the firm to liaise with Wycliffe and furnish him with all the information required.

He says that in one of these meetings they  had at the firm’s office seeking to address the delays in getting the restructure approved, a meeting attended by himself, Wycliffe and the Relationship Manager, they discussed a variety of issues affecting the business with the firm emphasizing on the urgency to get approval to avert further impact on its business.

“We committed and agreed to get the approvals done by the next 7 days,”

It is at this point that he would later learn of something usual that leads to data breach as per his affidavit

“That about one hour after ending our meeting, Mr. David Abai called informing me that a gentleman by the name Jared Makori who was then known to him and was the Regional Manager KENHA had called him with some astonishing need informing him of an unsolicited telephone call by Mr.Wycliffe Makori which was made to him informing him of the financial despair that New Mega Africa has gotten into and that the Bank was considering calling up all the facilities and auctioning the securities,” Evans confirms

He says the purpose of the call was to warn Jared against any potential financial dealings with the firm  or its Director Mr Abai.Wycliffe further advised Jared to inform all the other friends or businesses who would potentially enter into any financial dealings with the firm to exercise extreme caution.

From left to right Wycliffe Makori, David, Joseph Wafubwa, Sophie Omondi and a coallegue during a recent Absa party at an eatery in Nyali.

This according to him was wrong and outrageous.

“That the said actions by Mr.Wycliffe Makori were actuated with malice,in utter breach of the data confidentiality principle and violation of the data protection laws which was mainly done with the intention of scaring away the firm’s investors and suppliers,”

He says that he would later summon Wycliffe Makoiri to his office to ask him whether he had such a conversation with Jared and if at all, he knew of the consequences of breach of customer information confidentiality.

“Wycliffe confessed to have called Jared 5 minutes after our meeting with the plaintiff that morning informing him of the financial predicaments of the plaintiff.On querying further, Wycliffe informed me that Mr.Jared Makori was the beneficial owner of the plaintiff and that one Mr Abai was running down the business,”

Evans claims that upon asking Makori how he got to know that Mr.Jared was the beneficial owner of New Mega Africa and why he had not offered such critical information to the bank, he sounded remorseful but informed him  that it is Mr. Jared who had revealed to him that he owned the company.

Evans says he is aware the bank has trained its staff through internal mechanisms on the legal repercussions of failing to protect its clients with relation to data protection and client confidentiality.

He escalated Makori’s admission to respective persons and departments within the bank for further investigation and disciplinary action for disclosing the firm’s critical information to third parties.

Shockingly, as per the affidavit,it was the bank’s assessment that despite the actions by Makori, there was no material risk of abuse of information by the third parties and as such no further action was recommended.

He says the bank cautioned him against admitting such allegation to New Mega Africa or even taking disciplinary action against Wycliffe Makori- because that would be tantamount for the bank accepting liability.

He reveals that the bank frustrated New Mega Africa by virtue of alleged ownership of the firm as earlier hinted by Makori.

Mr Abai in his affidavit sworn in July 2023 had accused the bank of not only sharing New Mega Africa’s personal financial data with third parties, but also, frustrating and blackmailing him and New Mega Africa out of business.

He specifically accused Wycliffe Makori of engineering his troubles with the bank.

Mr Abai in his affidavit told the court that he has been struggling to save his firm from sinking out of business due to financial constraints caused by many external factors, among them the Covid-19 pandemic that ravaged the country.

Through his lawyer Kirui Kamwibua in July, he told the  court  a series of events from the time he got into contact with the bank and how things fell apart between the two parties.

Human Rights activist Andrew Mwadibe says the matter requires public scrutiny given Absa’s stake in the country’s financial affairs.

“This is Absa,a bank with an international reputation which means it understands labour laws very well so such a matter needs investigations that go beyond their internal mechanisms,” he said.

Section 44(4) of the Employment Act makes provision on summary dismissal on grounds of gross misconduct.

The employee can challenge the sacking in court under the provision above.

Senior Nyali Absa branch staff, Nkrumah Road staff and other senior officers in Nairobi were involved in the deal.

The Nyali ABSA staff has only been identified as Serah Muthui, earlier last Month she harassed a car wash attendant at Total petrol station along Links road over some fault in her car KDC 004B.

Controversial and corrupt Serah Muthoi with colleagues.

Muthui is said to have used derogatory and intimidating words against the innocent attendant.

According to reports in our possession the bank staff has been involved in numerous corruption, money laundering dealings, blackmail and other vices at the bank and she doesn’t care.

“She says that she is connected and she doesn’t fear, she is full of blackmail, intimidation and corruption is the order of the day in her activities, she wires some money in different accounts that we’re investigating .” Said a source at the bank.

Some of the police officers who were called by Serah Muthui to intimidate the young man have so far been identified and a formal complaint has been forwarded to inspector general of police Japhet Koome and IPOA.

“It is very wrong to use rogue officers to intimidate a hustler. We are keenly following up the matter. Actually the life of that boy is in danger. We re monitoring the situation very closely.” She said.

This comes at a time when some of the bank’s customers have poked holes in the new digital solution platform unveiled by the bank.

The financial institution says that the new platform will offer banking, savings, and payment services.

Absa Managing Director Abdi Mohamed said that the solution will allow those in the diaspora to invest in local projects.

WhatsApp and email communication in our possession details how other corrupt officers in the bank’s headquarters in Nairobi were also involved and received massive kickbacks from the investor.

The shocking revelations involve M-PESA transactions made to the staff and 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.

Mr Makori who is also a witness standing in for the bank issued affidavits in efforts to delink himself from the accusations but what came out clear is his own admission that he used to receive money via MPESA payments from Abai and that he was in communication with Jared Makori.

Shockingly, Makori under strange circumstances confirms in the affidavit to have called engineer Jared Makori asking whether Mombasa cement has made any payment or why there was a delay.

However, some clients are a worried lot and cautious enough to engage the bank through its digital platform over the ongoing case.

In a separate case, the bank  on Tuesday January 10,2023, was ordered to compensate a couple more than Sh234 million over fraudulent sale of their shares.

The bank was found guilty of fraudulently selling the couple’s shares in various companies including East African Breweries Plc (EABL) and BAT Kenya.

In the case involving Akothee (the singer), the bank was put on the spot over suspected collusion between the bank’s staff and third parties, a man accused of stealing Sh717,111 from the  Absa Bank account held by Aknotela Limited was in August charged before Milimani Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The withdrawals by Simon Kipngetich Tonui happened on various dates between August 7 and September 15, 2023.

He is facing 12 counts of stealing contrary to the law even as Aknotela Limited remains suspicious of the bank’s staff having colluded with Simon.

The full hearing of the New Mega Africa case against troubled Absa bank will be mentioned for directions before hon. Magare Kizito on next Week Monday on 18th December December ,2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *