Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Dfcu Bank Admits Fraudsters Hacked Their System

DFCU Bank Monday came out of their closet to confirm media reports that their banking system was hacked and the matter was reported to police to be investigated.

“In May 2019, the Bank detected a case of fraud that was immediately reported to the police (CID HDQTRS GEF 604/2019) and investigations are ongoing,” the bank said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, reports of this incident have been grossly and maliciously misrepresented in an attempt to damage the reputation of the Bank, destabilise the banking sector and the economy in general,” it added.

It is believed and has been widely reported by the media that close to Shs10bn was siphoned out of the bank by the hackers. This money was depositor’s money. One suspect was arrested and released on police bond.

According to a police bond that Eagle Online has seen, one of the suspects is identified as Braise Ombuze and was charged with the offense of Electronic Fraud and Theft under a reference Vide CID HQTRS GEF 604/2019.

Suspect In DFCU Shs10b Hacking Scandal Identified

As DFCU bank’s top administration continues to feign ignorance on the recent heist in which hackers made away with close to Shs10 billion, Eagle Online has some evidence on the matter that has raised eyebrows in Uganda’s banking industry.

According to a police bond that Eagle Online has seen, one of the suspects is identified as Braise Ombuze who was charged with the offense of Electronic Fraud and Theft under a reference Vide CID HQTRS GEF 604/2019.

Braise had been detained at CID head offices in Kibuli Kampala.

The police bond dated June 29 instructs Mr. Braise to appear at Kibuli on July 1, at 10 am for reporting.

“And continue to attend until otherwise directed by court further to answer to the said charge,” the police bond reads in part.

The suspect was bailed out by two sureties, Ambrose Belisya and a one Esther.

Braise is among six suspects who breached DFCU’s system and accessed customers’ information.

$2.6M depositors’ money has since been stolen.

We learnt that the masterminds breached some accounts in Kampala late last month and accessed the cash.

Earlier reports suggested the crime was executed by four junior staff and two outsiders.

Days ago Eagle Online reported that a case was opened at Kibuli CID head offices.

However, detectives handling the matter declined to divulge details to the media insisting there is no case nor suspects in their custody.

Sources had previously said that the hackers first accessed shs 700 million through ATMs.

The hackers cracked the bank’s system and started using “old unauthorized ATM cards” allegedly belonging to a number of pseudo customers “created by these hackers.”

Source: Eagle Online

Sugar Farmers Chase Government To Follow Law In Forming Regulations

Sugarcane farmers have put the proposed 2018 sugar regulations before the Parliamentary Committee on Delegated Legislation to rule on the regulations' failure to follow the law with rules that achieve the best results as proven by obligatory impact assessments.

The farmers report that the heavily bureaucratic regime proposed, which demands selling of cane to only one, designated mill with no free market and introduces new controls over seeds and prices - will be a final act of destruction for the industry.

"This is an industry still employing 250,000 farmers, and providing livelihoods for up to 6 million Kenyans, and yet we have been presented with regulations that will damage the industry beyond repair, and which have not even been subjected to the obligatory tests or rationale for their introduction," said Hon Saulo Busolo, Chairman of SUCAM, the Sugar Campaign for Change.

The farmers argue that the regulations need to be moved back to due process and undergo the mandatory level of analysis. This legally proscribed route is laid out in the Statutory Instruments Act that was enacted in 2013 to ensure new legislation is properly tested and does not wreak widespread damage.

"We have a clear and strong methodology in place to ensure that the government achieves positive and enhancing legislation for the nation. There is no reason or exception that means that suddenly 6 million Kenyans don't count enough to be honoured with basic legality from the government in regulating agriculture," said the chairman.

Kenya's sugar industry accounts for 15 per cent of agricultural GDP. However, the Ministry of Agriculture did not carry out the required cost benefit analysis on the proposed industry regime, or provide any alternative routes of comparisons, which is also a legal requirement.

This is despite the fact that the regulations propose zoning, which has without exception been damaging to sugar industries elsewhere in the world, and has now been comprehensively abandoned.

"In Australia, sugarcane production fell by nearly 3 per cent a year for five years under zoning, but rose by more than 13 per cent a year for the five years after zoning was lifted. There has been nowhere where zoning did not drive farmers out of sugar: it quite simply has the air of a deliberate move to create sugar shortages and move Kenya to imported sugar," said the chairman.

SUCAM's own cost / benefit analysis of different policy routes has found that a free market would deliver more than four times the gains for the industry and cut the cost to taxpayers to one eighth of the spend triggered by the new regulations.

"These are extremely costly regulations that will require large numbers of civil servants that taxpayers must fund to deliver only a fraction of the benefits of a free market," said Michael Arum, SUCAM coordinator

"This, thus, goes beyond a technical matter of failing to follow due process – although that, alone, is important. The result of failing to implement Kenyan law in formulating these particular regulations is set to hurt taxpayers and materially damage the fortunes of a huge community," he said.

The parliamentary committee meets next week with the regulations on the table, just days ahead of the government's intention to promulgate the regulations despite all pleas that they be subjected to the legal process of statutory formulation.


Small Holder Farmers Find Fault In The Agriculture Budget


Although government increased the Budget for agriculture sector to Shs1.05trillions in financial year 2019/20 which translate into 2.6% of the national budget up from the 2.4% of the national budget in the financial year 2018/2019, farmers say the increment will not support the transformation of the sector.

Farmers are saying the budget intends to benefit only large scale farmers in the country at the expense of the small holder ones.

Small holder farmers  who met last week  during the farmers  budget dialogue  that was hosted by the  Eastern and Southern Africa Small Farmers  Forum( EASFF ) Uganda chapter said most of the challenges affecting small holder farmers will not be solved by the budget as it was presented by the  Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaijja  during the budget speech.

They urge that the most important components in the sector were allocated little resources yet they play a big role towards supporting the small holder farmers in the agriculture sector. The most subcomponent that farmers believe are crucial include extension services, access to cheap irrigation equipment’s and scientific researches knowledge.

“We applaud the government for increasing the budget allocation from Shs893billion in FY2018/19 to UGX1.05trillions in FY2019/20 but the current budget may not solve the key issues in the sector because of underfunding of the key components in the sector,” Masudio Margret a small holder farmer from Adjuman said during the dialogue at EASFF head offices in Ntinda.

In the sectors budget (agriculture) government allocated Shs1.05trillions in financial year 2019/20 of which key subcomponent in the sector were under funded.

For example, agriculture research under the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) was allocated only Shs81.43billion yet the funds required in the financial year is Shs129.7billion. This leaves the organization with a funding gap of Shs48.3billion.

On the side of Recruiting Agriculture Extension Officers the central government allocated Shs107 billion yet the total budget in the financial year were budgeted to cost Shs230.2billion this leaves the Exercise with funding gap of Shs108.2 billion.

According to the cross section of farmers who attended the meeting such funding gap will impact farmers drastically because farmers in some parts of the country will not have access to agricultural extension services due to failure by the ministry to recruit extension services providers because of limited resources.

The current recruitment of agricultural extension workers stands at 3,827 of 5000.The current ratio of extension to farmer are 1:1800. The recommended is 1:500.This would require the government to recruit 12,000 extension staff.  The 5000 extension staffs were for 116 districts in 2015/16. The Districts have since increased to 128, an addition of 12 districts and 94 sub counties.

The approved structure is 13 officers at district level and 2+1 extension staff at sub county level (2 being crop and livestock and 1/3 being fisheries).

“As small holder farmers we need these technical people because they teach farmers how to improve their productivity. The extension officers are also critical to move research from the lab to the field and to ensure a return on investment in research by translating new knowledge into innovative practices” Explained Ngunga Tabula from Masaka.

Bagaga Ronald the Program Officer, Research and Policy at Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers' Forum (ESAFF) Uganda said the continued under funding in the agriculture sector will keep the majority of Ugandan under poverty which is big obstacles towards attaining sustainable Development Goals.

 He added that under funding priority key components in the Agriculture sector will also undermines Government to achieve the National Development Plan Phase II of the agriculture sector.

“The National Development Plan Phase II talks of increasing production and productivity of agricultural commodities and enterprises. Alongside strengthening the agricultural services institutions and the enabling environment however these objectives among other will not achieved if limited resources are allocated to the sector,” he explained.

In their final conclusion the farmers urged government in the upcoming financial year 2020/21 to ensure that   the budget for the sector are in line with the Malabo declaration which calls for African states to  allocate at least 10% of their National Budget to Agriculture Sector of which Uganda is signatory to the convention.

Other key issues which they want Government to do is to involve small holder farmers in the budget formulation process. According to the farmers who attended the meeting, government on many occasions has been sidelining them when it comes to budget process this has left their views not being considered in the final budget paper.

Among the key actions in the budget for Agriculture in the financial year, government will focus more on   Provision of storage facilities and linking farmers to agro-processing facilities to support agro-industrialization.  Delivery of quality inputs and services including seed and planting materials, mechanization, fertilizer, agricultural credit and extension services among other key action. 

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