How Ex-Bank Supervisor Ran a Forgery Syndicate From Within, Stole Millions From Clients

  • A screenshot of George Juma's interview on Njeraini Citu show on Inooro TV.
    A screenshot of George Juma's interview on Njeraini Citu show on Inooro TV.
    Inooro TV
  • Every person is afforded a once in a lifetime opportunity that could either propel their careers forward or cause their life to spiral downward. The choices they make at the time ultimately defines their future.

    This is the case of one George Juma, whose story can be likened to a movie script. From having a successful career in the banking industry, Juma's star faded away years later, and he would only reminisce on the good times, the freedom and the happy life. The once acclaimed banker now lives in the confines of a prison, from where he can only narrate the tales of his life.

    What could have gone wrong for the once bold and brash bank supervisor?

    File image of Kenyan banknotes held in a hand on January 25, 2020.
    File image of Kenyan banknotes held in a hand on January 25, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke

    In an explicable narration on Njeraini Citu (Inside The Prisons), Juma noted that his journey dates back to his early days in campus, where he pursued a Bachelors Degree in Finance and Commerce at Kabarak University. After graduating in 2006, he got employed at a local bank in December of the same year - an opportunity that he grabbed and gave his best, making him stand out among his peers and bosses.

    Juma noted that his hard work paid off as he was offered a scholarship by the bank the following year to pursue a second degree in Economics and Statistics in Massachusetts, US.

    Portraying himself as a visionary, Juma endeared himself to the locals as well as natives, which got him elected as the African Association of Scholars Representative - a notable achievement for the young lad.

    Juma's journey in the US, however, came to an end after he began facing racism at his workplace. This led him to fly back to the country and seek employment at his initial place of work, the local bank that earned him the scholarship. He worked for a couple of months then proceeded to work at another bank.

    Terming himself as 'industrious' and 'ethical', he rose through the ranks in quick fashion to become the bank's supervisor - a distinguished role which entailed balancing the books and ledgers and all transactions would pass by him before they got approval.

    He described the moment as one of his 'hey days' for ultimately reaching the proverbial brass ring. However, his meeting with a syndicate dubbed 'External Forces' proved to be the ultimate test to his moral character and judgment.

    "They told me that whatever I was being paid was peanuts to them, as they could show me how to make lots of money. I was consumed in their trap and began following their lead. With my experience, skill and position, I was able to do a lot of run forgeries successfully," Juma stated, pointing out he had been offered millions by the syndicate compared to his Ksh153,000 monthly income.

    Juma affirmed that through his position, he had access to all sorts of information such as types of accounts that were most active, amount held in each account and frequency of transactions of all accounts. 

    "The first job I did, we got away with Ksh17 million, the next one we got away with Ksh11 million. Clients were losing as little as Ksh1 daily and they couldn't tell the difference. We were a team of 11 people. We carried out the forgery transactions for a whole year, so you can imagine the millions we made if we took Ksh1 or Ksh10 daily from all those clients?" he posed.

    Prison wardens at work
    Prison wardens at work
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    He pointed out that his most lucrative transactions involved accounts belonging to foreigners who had set up accounts locally.  Alluding to this, he noted that such accounts would take months before they withdrew any funds as their major transactions involved depositing of funds from time to time. 

    Juma would then wire the money from the clients' accounts to an untraceable account - all transactions links would be erased from his end. 

    "As bankers we handle money but ourselves, we don't resemble what we handle, hence we get tempted to do fraudulent transactions," he noted. 

    However, his proverbial forty days beckoned as three transactions, he had performed, traced back to him. The transactions involved cheques (signatures) that were used as evidence. Juma later confessed to the fraudulent activities and was sentenced to prison on three accounts of forgery related crimes.

    "I definitely regret doing the transactions. My advice to those in employment particularly those in the banking sector, is that they should not fall into greed and temptations," he noted.