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.

MAKING NEW DISTRICTS IN UGANDA HAS ITS SHORTFALLS

Posted on 17th December, 2017

In Uganda, Kagadi district officials have been arrested for mismanaging public funds:

 African administrators continue to go to prison for misuse of public funds

By Alex Tumuhimbise

Police is investigating several government officials in Kagadi district over allegations of corruption and mismanagement of public funds.

Daily Monitor reporter has established that police operatives from the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) from Kampala have pitched a camp in Kagadi district to investigate different district officials over mismanagement of public funds that were meant for construction of roads in the district.

Kagadi District Police Commander Mr. Remeo Ojora Oneck said Kagadi District Finance Officer, Mr. Vincent Natugonza was arrested alongside other officials by a team of crime investigators lead by a one Mr. Joseph Ojinga. He was later released on police bond.

‘‘So many people were arrested including; the finance officer, chairman construction committee, the district engineer among others. They were later released on police bond,’’ Ojara said.

The team had by Friday spent three days in the district majorly targeting the office of the Chief Administrative Officer and District Education Officer.

When contacted, Albertine Regional Police spokesperson Mr. Julius Hakiza confirmed that investigations are ongoing adding that many officials who fall culprits will be arrested and tried.

Kagadi Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Salim Komakechi confirmed the arrest of some officials adding that investigations into the alleged scandals have been going on since October this year.

Efforts to get a comment from Kagadi District Chief administrative officer, Mr. Mahaba Malik on how much money was allegedly mismanaged by the suspects were futile because he is currently hospitalized in Kampala.

Kagadi district was operationalized on 1 July 2016 after it was curved off Kibaale district.

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