The State witness in the loss of pension in Uganda fears to come to court. The Judge is not happy about it:

Prison warders escort former Public Service permanent secretary Jimmy

Prison warders escort former Public Service permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa (R) and former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey (L) to the Anti-Corruption Court for a hearing of their case recently. PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA

By BETTY NDAGIRE


Posted  Tuesday, December 22   2015 

Kampala, UGANDA:

The Anti-Corruption Court Judge Lawrence Gidudu yesterday expressed dissatisfaction over the State’s failure to present a witness to testify against key suspects in the Shs88 billion pension scam.

The suspects include former permanent secretary in the ministry of Public Service Jimmy Lwamafa, former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey, and former director research and development Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa.

Hearing of their case was set to proceed with submission by the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Ms Adah Kabarokole Muwanga, but she failed to show up before court on grounds that she was unwell.

This is the second time she failed to show up.

This second instance annoyed Justice Gidudu who proposed they deal with her (Muwanga’s) testimony, saying her absence was a sign that she might never appear.

However, the prosecutor, Ms Ms Barbra Kawuma, pleaded with court to avail her another chance to be heard, arguing that Ms Muwanga’s evidence is crucial for their case and being a civil servant, she has obligation to show up to testify and court should be granted another chance.

Postponement

Consequently, the judge allowed prosecution until January 8, 2016, and threatened to reconsider releasing the suspects on bail.

Justice Gidudu explained that in criminal law, when suspects are on remand, their trial should be speeded and that if the prosecution is continuously dragging its feet, then he will be obliged to release the suspects on bail.

Currently, prosecution is left with six witnesses who should testify before the end of February 2016, for court to rule on whether, the suspects have a case to answer.

The suspects have been on remand since August this year and two different judges have on two different occasions, denied to release the suspects on bail, agreeing with the prosecution that once out of jail, they will jeopardise investigations like they did in the initial pension case of Shs165 billion that was dismissed.

The trio is accused of fraudulently budgeting for over Shs88 billion of civil servants’ pension contribution to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) well knowing that civil servants don’t contribute to NSSF.


bndagire@ug.

nationmdia.com

Sidney Asubo is the Financial Intelligence Authority ED


Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority has formally begun preliminary investigations that will dig up details of the 57 people linked to Uganda, with secret accounts in HSBC, a Swiss bank.

Speaking to The Observer yesterday, Sydney Asubo, the FIA executive director, said the investigations will look into who these people are, how they are linked to Uganda, and if they are hiding illicit money.

Asubo added that while it is not illegal to have foreign bank accounts, the money laundering law empowers FIA to investigate any suspicious money. Early this month, HSBC’s secret files of over 100,000 clients were leaked to French authorities who also distributed them to different media outlets.

The leaked files reveal that 57 out of the 100, 000 clients have links to Uganda, and they hold a stash of $89.3 million (about  Shs 255.6bn) in the bank. One of the clients, whose association with Uganda is closer, has about $8.8m (about Shs 25.1bn).

Details from the leaked files show that 212 bank accounts were opened by people with links to Uganda, of which 83 accounts were opened between 1972 and 2006, and 50 of those accounts were active in 2006, which was an election year.

“We have to find all the illicit money wherever it is, whether within Uganda or out of Uganda,” he said, adding that in case it is discovered that the money is illicit, any individual or institution responsible will face the law.

Asked about the status of the inquiry, Asubo said they were in the preliminary stages of the investigations.

“We have written to Swiss authorities and we hope to update you if any substantial details are found,” he said. FIA will be assisted by other state organs such as the external security organisation and police.

In 2012, Parliament established an inquiry into allegations that senior government officials had received bribes from oil companies to swing oil contracts in the bribers’ favour. In its report to Parliament, the probe team said it could not pin the government officials because the countries, Switzerland inclusive, where the accounts of the said transactions took place, refused to cooperate with the team.


skakaire@

observer.ug


Commissioner for Land Registration department Sarah Kulata

The commissioner for Land Registration department, Sarah Kulata has denied responsibility in the Shs 26bn loss made by government in the fraudulent compensation of more than 180 people alleged to own land in wetlands and forest reserves.


In 2013, people were issued with land tittles and later compensated by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). Evidence before the commission of inquiry into mismanagement, abuse of office and corrupt practices in UNRA; indicates that the land registration department went ahead to issue land tittles in wetland and forest reserves without consultation with environmental body, NEEMA or the National Forest Authority (NFA) who are legally the custodians of wetlands and forest reserves respectively.


Kulata however told the commission on Friday while being interrogated by the lead counsel Andrew Kasirye that the role of her office was recording land titles as issued by the district Land boards and thus the blame should be put on the district land officials at Wakiso.


"The people who collected the money should pay it back. My lord, commissioners I earlier stated that the controlling authority is the owner of the land. [in] land registration, the registrar is at the tail end of the process of titling. Squarely put the blame on the district land board, the controlling authority", she said.

Kasirye interjected asking: "What is the purpose of having a registrar? A registrar is skilled in matters of land law. Are you suggesting to this commission that being at the tail end, your officers are mere rubber-stamps. Should we recommend that we remove them?".

The 1995 constitution puts all wetlands and forest reserves in custody of government for the people of Uganda. A gazette notice was issued in February 2013 and most of the controversial land tittles were issued between March 2013 and December 2014.


The Legal Affairs director Christopher Gashirabaki had earlier informed the commission that following a gazette of land to be covered by roads, UNRA takes charge and no land tittles can be issued to the alleged owners. However, the Land Registration department went ahead to issue land tittles and leases in the said areas.


Among those given the leases and claimed compensation is Minister of Land, Housing Development Daudi Migereko for his land in Munyonyo. The Minister had in February written to all stakeholders halting further activities on the land. He is set to appear and give details to claims of influence peddling, ownership of illegal land tittles in the Express Highway land etc.


When asked if her department took dual diligence to verify the titles, Kaluta said "My lord, commissioners, land registration is a process where the department of land registration is at the tail end. There is another department of administration which does supervising, monitoring and guiding controlling authorities. I believe the department of land administration must have informed the controlling authority audibly."


Kulata is to appear again on Monday to answer on fraudulent compensation in the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road project as well as avail more details in relation to the Kampala Entebbe Express Highway compensation.

THIS IS GOVERNMENT MONEY THAT WILL NEVER BE RECOVERED

Posted on 24th December, 2014

 

Mr Robert Kyagulanyi known as Bobi Wine has dismissed the long serving President of Uganda, Mr Museveni's promise to fight corruption as political propaganda.

Mr Robert Kyagulanyi at a press conference in Magere, Kampala, Uganda 

11 December, 2018

 

By Abubaker Lubowa for the Monitor newspaper, Uganda

 

 

Kyaddondo East Member of Parliament, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi has scathingly reacted to President Yoweri Museveni’s latest promise to fight corruption, saying the head of State has lacks the will to decisively tackle the vice.

On Monday, Mr Museveni while officiating at the Anti-Corruption week at Kololo Independence Grounds said his new plan is to confiscate property of public servants who steal public money.

“All property belonging to corrupt officials will be confiscated. But I will first get first-hand information before confiscation of the property and I will order organisations fighting corruption to avail me with more details of stolen money,” Mr Museveni said.

However, Mr Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, said in a statement he circulated on his social media platforms that Mr Museveni has no capacity to clean the mess since he’s presiding over the worst corrupt systems.

“It is because of that corrupt system that hospitals have no drugs. That schools are rotting. That the levels of unemployment are sickening. That we have no public transport,” Mr Kyagulanyi said in the statement. “That our infrastructural projects are inflated, costing many more times than they do in other countries, and yet we end up with shoddy works. That our nation suffers and bleeds.”

He said as far as fighting graft is concerned, Mr Museveni has always shot himself in the foot by appointing, reappointing and elevating corrupt and compromised people in public office.

 

Below is Mr Kyagulanyi’s statement that has been slightly edited

So today President Museveni has asked Ugandans to listen to him as he announces new measures against corruption. What a joke!

After 32 years of empty promises, he is promising yet again!

How can we depend on the man who created the mess to clean it up?

How can a man who has created and presided over one of the worst corrupt systems talk about fighting corruption? How can a man, who goes around bribing citizens with sacks of public funds purport to fight corruption? How can a man, who was only last week linked to receiving a bribe of $500,000 in a United States federal court, say anything about fighting corruption?*

What can a man who has established, nurtured and supported political and economic corruption talk about combating corruption? A man who bribes MPs to pass decadent laws?  A man who only two weeks ago admitted while in Kenya, that he bribes Ugandans, so as not to lose votes?  A man who treats our nation's treasury as if it's his own purse? A man who treats Uganda's natural resources as his own?

It is because of that corrupt system that hospitals have no drugs. That schools are rotting. That the levels of unemployment are sickening. That we have no public transport. That our infrastructural projects are inflated, costing many more times than they do in other countries, and yet we end up with shoddy works. That our nation suffers and bleeds.

If corruption in Uganda is a baby, President Museveni is its midwife. If it is a football game, he is a striker. If it is a song, he is the producer. If it is a building, he is the chief architect. And yes, if it is a plant, he is that fertile soil that has enabled it grow, blossom and flourish! He has appointed, reappointed, and elevated the corrupt and most compromised people in public office, and protected them.

Mr President, you have no moral authority to say anything about fighting corruption. You are not just part of the problem – you are the biggest stumbling block in any effort to rid this country of corruption, patronage and abuse of public funds.

* There is no evidence that Mr Museveni expected, solicited or received such money. Both the President and Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa were not defendants in the case and were not called to testify.

Editor.

 

 

 

 

 

The Immigration boss Mr Godfrey Sasaga

The directorate of citizenship and immigration control failed to exhaustively account for over Shs 52bn advanced for the purchase of the biometric kits to be used in the national identity card enrollment project.

 

Appearing before the parliamentary public accounts committee (PAC) today, immigration officials said the procurement process was ‘hijacked’ by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) who should explain better how the money was spent.

 

At least Shs 52bn was spent on the purchase of biometric kits and other equipment. They included laptops, cameras, finger print scanner, signature pads among others. In his FY 2014/15 report, the auditor general, John Muwanga noted that the providers of the kits presented a lump sum figure of Shs 52.2bn as opposed to the unit cost of each kit.

 

"This made it difficult to make a comparison of the bids. Further, it was not possible to compute the liquidated damages as a result of late delivery of 3246 spare batteries and 3258 USB hubs", the auditor general's report notes in part.

 

Godfrey Sasaga, the director citizenship and immigration distanced his team from the purchase of the biometrics kits, saying the procurement was hijacked by ISO following a cabinet resolution that reasoned that the issuance of the national IDs was a national security matter.

 

PAC chairperson, Angelline Osegge tasked the immigration officials to name the items in the kits in vain.

 

“Whether it is technical or scientific, there is no product called a ‘kit’. Here you were buying an item. The item constituted a kit, so [you should] have included the prices of items in that kit. Now, what you have given us does not even give us that information”, said Osegge.

 

“I think that is where the procurement problem was and I admit there was that kind of gap in all this information [provided]”, Sasaga responded.

 

Gerald Karuhanga, the Ntungamo municipality MP accused the immigration officials of providing the committee with incomplete documents.

 

“No, no. No. This is very embarrassing because you can imagine item A; laptop Poland 4,258, unit price [not] included. Finger print scanner unit price [not] included, signature price [not] included - nothing. You don’t want anybody to know the unit price of any these items”, Karuhanga charged. 

 

MPs blamed the immigration official for negligence for alleged failure to pay attention to costs of particular items, which could have cost taxpayers loss of money.

 

“You’re the accounting officer, you sign off this money. So for you, what were you signing off for?” Karuhanga asked.

“For a kit!” Sasaga answered.

“A kit?!”, asked Karuhanga. 

“Yes” Sasaga answered in the affirmative.

“Even if they gave you an empty box? For you are just interested in a kit”, Karuhanga further prodded.

“The kit had components in it. The problem and I agree with you, is that at the procurement level…” said Sasaga before he was cut short in his submission.

 

“Mr Sasaga we are talking about Shs 52bn, so you ought to have been interested in what was in this that we are paying for” Karuhanga said.

 

PAC chairperson Osegge noted that ISO doesn't have the prerogative to flout procurement laws, saying they will not hide under classified expenditure. 

 

Karuhanga said according to the documents before the committee, the procurement process was handled by Deborah Katuramu, the secretary in the Office of the President and Dan Mugisha, the ISO contract manager. The committee said it would resolve on how to proceed on the matter.

 

 

 

Ex-Internal Security Ogarnization staff ordered to account for Uganda currency shs 6.9bn

(about 1.6 million dollars):

Publish Date: Dec 24, 2014

 

                  Justice Irene Mulyagonja
 
She advises that three former ISO staff should submit accountability for the sh6.9b. 
 

 By Chris Kiwawuloment (IGG) has ordered the directors of Uganda Veteransof Ial Organisation (UVETISO) to account for sh6.9b of the sh10b benefits eceivy the majority of intended beneficiaries.

 

Justice Irene Mulyagonja, in a fresh order, has said three former ISO staff; Jeff Kiwanuka, Jamal Kitandwe and Bernard Kamugisha, who represented over 500 ex-ISO staff, should submit accountability for the sh6.9b to the finance ministry by January 17, 2015.

 

“In the event that the signatories to the UVETISO account fail to account for the monies by that date, the Director of Public Prosecutions should initiate an investigation into the loss of the said amount (sh6.9b) with a view of prosecuting the signatories to the account for the theft and/or diversion of public funds or other appropriate offences,” the IGG recommended.

 

Over 1,000 ISO staff were retrenched in 1993 without being paid terminal benefits. Five hundred of them sued the Government, which subsequently agreed to pay sh39.18b to them.

 

Court had initially awarded the retired soldiers sh72.4b, but the Government, through the Attorney General, negotiated with them and they agreed to take sh39.18b, which the Government was to settle in its entirety.

 

The initial sh10b was released to UVETISO, but the IGG halted further payments after some would-be beneficiaries alleged mismanagement.

 

A big part of the money was reportedly taken by the lawyers, according to the IGG.

 

Mulyagonja also directed that no further payments should be made to Matovu and Matovu Company Advocates, who represented the ex-ISO staff in the case. She noted that the bigger number of the 1,078 beneficiaries of the judgment in High Court Civil Suit did not bind themselves to pay any fees to the advocates.

 

“It was also manifestly unfair and illegal for the self-appointed representatives of the beneficiaries to pay almost 70% of sh10b to advocates and other persons as expenses without consulting and getting the written consent of all beneficiaries. They, as a result, deprived the beneficiaries of a large portion of their benefits in the judgment,” the IGG said in an interim report released Monday.

 

 Kiwanuka, Kitandwe and Henry Waibale (now deceased) were originally representing the group of over 500 retired soldiers in the court case that took over 10 years.

 

On winning the case, however, Kiwanuka and Kitandwe were joined by Kamugisha with whom they formed a company called UVETISO, on whose account in Crane Bank the first installment of sh10b was remitted.

 

The sh10b was remitted to the UVETISO account on June 18, but sh2.5b was withdrawn in cash on that very day and another sh2b was withdrawn the following day.

 

By August 15, there was only a balance of sh31.7m on the account.

 

This prompted some of the former ISO staff to petition the Attorney General, IGG, ISO and the office of the Minister for the Presidency seeking their intervention.

 

On August 22, the IGG wrote to the finance ministry, stopping further payments, setting up a stage for a clash with the Attorney General, who questioned legality of the IGG’s order halting of the payments.

 

Kiwanuka, Kitandwe and Kamugisha also petitioned court, which halted the IGG’s investigations.

 

Due to the court’s decision to halt her investigations, the IGG asked the Auditor General and ISO to carry out a physical verification of the former ISO employees entitled to terminal benefits, including establishing those who are deceased and the legal representatives entitled to receive the benefits on their behalf.

 

The IGG further asked that the finance ministry directly pays the terminal benefits to entitled and verified beneficiaries as well as legal representatives of the deceased beneficiaries identified after verification.

 

In her interim report, the IGG criticized the courts for the increasing tendency to issue orders halting investigations into alleged corruption.

 

 

Lira municipality town clerk, Daniel Christopher Kaweesi and the principal finance officer, Patrick Awio have been arrested over alleged financial mismanagement.

 

The arrest follows a directive by the Local Government Accounts Committee of parliament to whom the duo failed to present credible accountability for more than Shs 224m spent in the financial years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.

 

They were summoned to respond to queries in the Auditor General's report for the two financial years for funds that were not adequately accounted for.  The report indicates that up to Shs 78.3m was not accounted for by Lira municipal council during the financial year 2013/2014.

 

It further indicates that another Shs 146m was not accounted for in the financial year 2014-2015.  Of this, the committee heard that Shs 130m was paid out as compensation to Joseph Olet, a resident whose house at Ojamma village was erroneously razed during a community road opening.

 

Kaweesi told the committee that Shs 6m was used to compensate Sarah Ebong, who was arrested and tortured by municipal law enforcers in 2007 and Shs 10m was paid to David Okello, the interdicted Lira municipality council inspector of schools.

 

But the alleged beneficiaries Olet and Ebong denied receiving payments from the council.

 

Committee chairperson, Winifred Kiiza ordered for their arrest and investigation by the police. She also ordered for the arrest of Okello, the indicted inspector of schools, to explain how he spent Shs 10m advanced to him.

 

Mansur Suwed, the central north regional police spokesperson says the two officials are still held at Lira police pending investigation into their case.

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