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.

LEADERS OF THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA DO NOT WANT TO RETIRE.

Posted on 21st March, 2015

POLITICAL CORRUPTION BIG TIME IN NAIROBI, KENYA,

 

03 September, 2017

In the Diamond Trust Bank of Uganda, the Bank Manager has disappeared with Shs345M of the national bank's money, after Locking Her Juniors in the bank: 
M/s Regina Kiguli

All is not well at Diamond Trust Bank, both at the headquarters and at Malaba Branch where their Manager, Mrs. Regina Kiguli Ahumuza has made off with over UG345M, the Investigator exclusively report.

From Police fresh investigations, we have gathered that Regina went ‘missing’ on Friday (11th November 2016) after she locked all colleagues and her juniors in the banking hall before she made off with the loot.

Police have since arrested, detained and questioning Peter Ddungu, 28, the Customer Service Supervisor and Christine Nabulime, 29, a teller, to help with the tender investigations.

Ddungu told police that it all started when he received a customer who wanted to withdraw UG13M. On consulting Regina he was informed that the Bank Coffers were empty. After about an hour, another client came to withdraw UG5M but again Ddungu received the same answer from his manager.

Concerned and confused in same measures, he reportedly sent an email to the headquarters and following the same, an investigation and audit team were immediately sent in from Kampala. The teams have so far established the loss to the tune of UGX345M.

The officer in Charge at Malaba police station, Barnabas Tusingwire confirmed the fraud and called on the public to report Regina on sight. He revealed that more staff members are to be questioned.

An insider at the Bank told the Investigator that Regina fled on a speeding Bodaboda with some cash in a black polythen bag. She reportedly left her bag in office, probably to disguise her intentions. Tusingwire said Nabulime and Ddungu have been transferred to Tororo Central Police Station for further questioning and investigations.

 

“No economic sector will be allowed to seek a loan unless counterpart funding is secured. In fact, I will not sign any more loans until I am assured that money for counterpart funding is available.”

Talking about the negotiations he had with the World Bank, finance minister Matia Kasaija said that the development partners are greatly concerned about the delayed utilization of money borrowed.

Mr Matia Kasaijja, the Minister of Finance in Uganda.

 

“Their biggest concern is low absorption for loans," he said when asked.

About a month ago, the Word Bank suspended support to Uganda and this has put the implementation of the country’s 2016/17 budget at stake since World Bank is one of the major sources of funds for the country’s budget.

In a recent cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said Uganda has in the last seven years lost about sh92b due to delayed utilization of borrowed money.

The other key concern of the World Bank, according to Kasaija, is the need for the Ugandan government to put in place safeguards on social and environmental concerns.

On the measures the finance ministry intends to implement to convince the World Bank to suspend the suspension, Kasaija said: “I have already warned managers of various government entities to ensure there is timely absorption for the funds.”

He said low absorption of loans is very common in agencies where there are incompetent managers.

“I have to tell you that there are non-performing managers who need to be replaced. Something has to be done about them."

On what his ministry plans to do regarding delayed implementation of loans arising from failure of government to provide counterpart funding, the minister said: “No sector will be allowed to seek a loan unless counterpart funding is secured. In fact, I will not sign any more loans until I am assured that money for counterpart funding is available.”

Kasaija and the secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi spent the whole of last week in Washington DC, USA negotiating with the World Bank to lift the ban on Uganda.

The talks however ended without the bank accepting to lift the suspension as the delegation from Uganda had requested.

“We were well received but suspension is yet to be lifted. The discussions are still going on. Soon they will also send a team to come to Uganda,” Kasaija told New Vision.

Muhakanizi recently admitted before parliament's  public accounts committee (PAC) that Uganda is the worst performer in the utilization of borrowed funds in the East African region.

Uganda’s public debt has been sporadically rising in the recent past and has now reached about US$10b.

After making research on contradictory reports about Uganda’s indebtedness, Uganda Debt Network (UDN) carried out research and established that the country’s total public has now reached US $11b.  

If the Standard Gauge Railway loan of US$12.5b materializes, it means Uganda will have exceeded the 50% ceiling of the ratio of public debt to its GDP of about US$27b.

 

Nb

So then who is going to pay for those expensive World Bank loans, that have not been able to be accounted for by this long serving government of Uganda, before new loans are again secured?

 

In Uganda, Government Election handouts continue: The scourge eating the economy as a General Election of 2016 aproaches:

 

President Museveni (L) hands over Shs250 million to

Busoga youth chairperson Sanon Bwire recently.

The gesture attracted criticism, most of it, in social media.

FILE PHOTO  

By Ismail Musa Ladu

 

Posted  Tuesday, November 10  2015 

The earnest obligation to vote seems to have lost meaning with many turning the civic duty into a season of cash bonanzas.

Last week, the Electoral Commission completed nomination for the 2016 presidential candidates but the scenes in some camps at party rallies tells of a deeper rot that has dug deep into society.

The election period, according to a Democracy Monitoring Group (DEM Group) report, is usually heavy on cash handouts with reports of wide spread bribery patronising the season.

The report, on Money in Politics, shows pervasive vote buying but warns of skewed outcomes that do not reflect the will of society.

DEM Group, whose objective is to help create a free and fair election, stresses that the use of money has “become a culture with voters becoming accustomed to receiving bribes in exchange for votes”.

But all this, analysts say, could be the work of a rotten society that has willing vote sellers and buyers as both seek to gain from each other.

However, the report also cites the failure to deliver service and the stinging poverty that continues to squeeze voters with no end in sight.

This is particularly not surprising since a large percentage of the electorate is extremely poor and vulnerable to monetary handouts.

But besides cash handouts voters have also been compromised with petty handouts that are largely consumptive and have no long term impact on their lives.

All this is conduct that is contrary to the electoral law but seems to have grown unabated.

Interviewed for this article, Venansius Baryamureeba, an Independent presidential candidate for the 2016 elections, said politics has been highly monetanised and candidates need to spend heavily in order to win an election.

He says, Shs15m a day in the life of a presidential candidate, for instance, is just but a drop in the ocean.

Therefore, it could be for this reason that winning a political office has become a do-or-die affair where people are willing to do anything to gain an edge.

But such deluded activities, Gerald Karuhanga says lack logic and blinds voters into making inept and unwise decisions that cannot impact their future.

Karuhanga, who is a Youth Member of Parliament for western region, believes that for any elective office such MP, people should only spend the bare minimum and not the huge sums of money that have become to characterise elections.

Baryamureeba just like Karuhanga believes the huge sums of money spent during election are not only despondent but have created voter apathy and are a danger to the economy.

The money, which in most cases is unaccounted for, has spill over economic effects, which according to Fred Muhumuza, creates problems for the economy because it is “consumptive rather productive”.

“During elections inflation tends to skyrocket, which creates problems for the economy”, Muhumuza, an economic analyst with KPMG, says.

The inflation, he says, has a far reaching impact that not only slows down economic growth but has the potential to wipe out gains.

But the irony, according to Muhumuza, is the source of huge sums of money, which he says could be diversions from productive projects to aid short term political gains.

The impact is usually immense and to Yona Kanyomozi, a veteran politician, the repeat of the 2011 mess could come back to haunt the country.

After the 2011 electoral period, inflation rose to more than 30 per cent with allegations that Bank of Uganda had issued promissory notes to fund election activities of the ruling NRM party.

“For sure we should brace for the worst after the election. And just like how it has always been, everybody will feel the impact,” Kanyomozi says, highlighting an already fluid economy that is chocking on rising inflation, high interest rates and the relatively weak Shilling.

But for Julius Mukunda, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group coordinator, economic challenges are usually anticipated but sometimes, “It could be too late do anything”.

However, the Central Bank has been fighting a growth in inflation which last month grew to 8.8 per cent.

The 8.8 per cent is above the Central Bank target of 5 per cent.

The election, Mukunda says, is likely to condemn many, especially those who will use large sums with a view of appealing to voters.

But beyond inflation, is the fear of depleting the national treasury, which Julius Kapwepwe, the Uganda Debt Network director of programmes believes could be orchestrated by people in government.

Kapwepwe says it will be dangerous for government to “borrow to take care of political promises made during these campaigns”.

However, the claims that the Central Bank prints money to fund the NRM, according to Louis Kasekende, the Bank of Uganda deputy governor are merely but allegations because “I also ask myself where they get the money from”, warning that those speculating must “be careful”.

“As far as we are concerned enforcement of rules is a must. And the Central Bank does not finance any election,” he said at a recent function in Kampala.

What is recommended

According to the DEM Group report and expert analysis, there is need for transparent in the manner of election financing.

This should be done in the manner that campaign contributions are disclosed and accounted for every after election period. This will encourage accountability, which unlike today closes out the need for transparent practices that encourage free and fair elections.

But beyond accountability and transparency, voters should be taken through civic education to strengthen their civic knowledge as a long term strategy that could protect the public from manipulation. Leaders should also be held accountable to fulfil election pledges and this should be used as a benchmark for their return to office.

 

Burundi in Africa is on the brink of a civil war as this country's leader refuses to give up state power:

By AFP 

With a president who won't go and an opposition determined to blow the final whistle, battle lines are being drawn ahead of elections in the central African nation of Burundi.

Determined to stay put despite a two-term constitutional limit, President Pierre Nkurunziza stands accused of trying to sideline political challengers ahead of the June vote, with measures including arrests, harassment and a clampdown on free speech.

But with the opposition and civil society groups mobilising, disapproval from the influential Catholic Church and even a split within the ruling party, there are worries the landlocked country is on the brink.

On top of that, Burundi is still recovering from a brutal 13-year-long civil war that ended in 2006 and is part of a region beset by genocide and rebellion.

"It's the first time in Burundi's history that there has been such a polarisation" of national politics, said Julien Nimubona, professor of political science at the University of Burundi. He said both camps appear to see violence as a solution.

"There will be more of a cost for him and the country if he stands than if he doesn't," the professor warned.

Recent months have seen the crisis over Nkurunziza's expected candidacy worsen.

In mid-February, the lakeside capital of Bujumbura, where grinding poverty is the norm for many, was gridlocked by a huge demonstration in support of a popular government critic and journalist who was arrested after implicating government agents in a murder case.

The march served to galvanise calls in Burundi to "stop a third term", a campaign that has since been joined by the Catholic Church — which declared it had concluded the president had to go after two terms.

But Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel leader and born-again Christian, is fighting back. He sacked his powerful intelligence chief and two deputies after sources said the general wrote to the president asking him not to run again.

According to several stop state officials, the question has prompted a "real uneasiness" and even "a crisis" within the ruling CNDD-FDD party, as no other clear successor is in view. At the same time, the opposition says it will not repeat its 2010 boycott of the polls, and analysts say they have every chance of causing an upset.

"We are in a context where the internal revolt is intensifying," a Bujumbura-based diplomat said, commenting on tensions with both the CNDD-FDD and the powerful armed forces.

Burundi's constitution allows a president to be elected to two five-year terms, but Nkurunziza argues he was only once directly picked by the people — as Burundi's parliament chose him for his first term, beginning in 2005.

It is now up to his party to choose him as their candidate and for the constitutional court to validate it. On this, Interior Minister Edouard Nduwimana has appealed for "patience".

Although Nkurunziza, a football-mad father-of-five, is the latest in a long line of African leaders who have tried to stay put, his opponents may be encouraged that the tide is turning.

In one example, Burkina Faso's former president Blaise Compaore was chased out last year after he tried to bend the rules in his favour.

Key donors are also critical: speaking last week during a UN Security Council visit to the country, US ambassador Samantha Power described Nkurunziza's ambitions as "extremely divisive" and "very destabilising".

Implicitly telling him to bow out gracefully, she called on Burundi's leaders "to make decisions on the basis of what is good for the people of Burundi and for peace."

On the streets of the capital, the tension is palpable — with anger brewing over alleged repression but also inflation, corruption and poverty.

Hidden from view but not from conversation are the Imbonerakure, the CNDD-FDD's youth wing who rights activists allege have been secretly armed and trained in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo — reviving among some observers bad memories of the lead-up to the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.

"Certain people seem to be drawn into a logic that the worst will happen. There is an increase of electoral tensions in both camps, and the mood for a riot in Bujumbura," said Thierry Vircoulon of the International Crisis Group, a conflict-prevention think-tank, suggesting the CNDD-FDD could steer the country off its current drift to violence by choosing an alternative candidate.

Burundi on the brink as leader refuses to budge - Africa - nation.co.ke 

 

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