The management of the I&M Bank Rwanda has denied internal collusion into the Sh1.4billion ($10.3 million) fraud elaborately executed in less than 75 days and saw the lender lose an average of Sh19million daily through mysterious withdrawals.
Today, in a quick rejoinder following exposé by The Informer Media Group over alleged internal collusion between bank insiders and external shadowy players in siphoning the colossal sums of money, the bank management headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robin C. Bairstow said so far, investigations have not shown “signs of internal collusion.”
Bairstow also doubles as the chairperson of Rwanda Bankers’ Association (RBA).
A statement sent to us by the bank management said the probe is ongoing.
Early investigations do not indicate signs of internal collusion, however once investigations are completed all customers will be contacted directly and advised accordingly on the outcomes.
However, impeachable sources alleged involvement of insiders in the pilferage of depositors’ money in what is shaping out to be one of the largest bank heist in the recent past to hit the regional lender.
“I&M Bank Rwanda is aware of an article highlighted in The Informer on May 9, 2023 that references the Group’s Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2022. We wish to confirm that the issue was indeed flagged by our systems and contained as an isolated incident.” The statement adds in part.
The bank says they fraud probe is still ongoing and they are cooperating with the relevant authorities in Rwanda alongside their auditors, Ernst & Young (EY) in South Africa to undertake a detailed independent review of the incident.
The Rwandan banks’ regulator, the Central Bank of Rwanda (CBR) are among the lead institutions involved in the probe.
“Due to the ongoing investigations, we are currently not at liberty to provide further details. We reassure our customers that we have enhanced measures and controls around our services and of our continued commitment to offering best-in-class service.” The bank management added.
I&M Bank entered Rwanda in 2012 through the acquisition of a majority shareholding in Banque Commerciale du Rwanda and holds a 54.47 percent stake through BCR Investment Company.
Although the management hold that the fraudulent transactions were internally flagged, it remains unclear how the heist was executed in less than three months.
The disclosures were made in an annual general meeting report after meeting the shareholders.
“Subsequent to year-end, management of I&M Bank (Rwanda) PLC discovered incidents of fraudulent withdrawals through customer wallets amounting to $10.3 million during the period 1 November to 17 January 2023,” said the group in the annual report. As of the date of these financial statements, some recoveries have been made and investigations are still ongoing.” An annual report by I&M Group reads in part.