Last week, the Anti Corruption Court (located in Kololo, Kampala) finally delivered judgment for those accused of involvement in the pension case in which Shs 88.2 billion was stolen. The money is said to have been used to pay “ghost” pensioners.
THE ACCUSED AND NOW CONVICTED.
Lwamafa, the former ministry of public service permanent secretary, Obey, principal accountant and Kunsa, director research and development were on August 19, 2015, arraigned before court and charged with several counts in relation to the irregular budgeting of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and misappropriation of sh88b allocated to it.
THE CHARGE AND ALLEGATION;
This case came four months after the collapse of the sh165b pension scam case. The case was dismissed for lack of prosecution evidence after it had stalled for one a half years without any witness being produced in court.
According to the charge sheet, the embezzlement, fraud, conspiracy, false accounting and diversion took place in two financial years, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.
Briefly, the three accused were said to have masterminded a fraud scheme using an unapproved payment system ,in which they created ghost pensioner accounts , and then purportedly paid billions of shillings into these accounts, which money was eventually withdrawn by people who were part of this scheme. According to the State, the accused budgeted for NSSF, an item the ministry does not budget for and when the money was remitted, they diverted it to an unknown third party.
In his judgment Justice Lawrence Gidudu noted that the money was fraudulently paid to former employees of the defunct East African Community board. He also said that the sh88.2b was siphoned through a syndicate which was initiated at the ministry of public service, modified at the ministry of finance, perfected at the Bank of Uganda and executed by Cairo Bank.
JUDGEMENT AND SENTENCING;
A judgment was made as result of a 15 months trial , In his judgment Justice Lawrence Gidudu exonerated the secretary to the Treasury Mr. Keith Muhakanizi who allegation of conspiraring with the accused had earlier been raised against too , this was because he had made it expressly clear to the accused prior to the loss of money which was allegedly reported stolen that the payment scheme was not approved and not efficient however the accused had gone ahead and used it to make payment to non existent individuals. The court received corporation from the office of the secretary of the Treasury and as such Mr. Keith Muhakanzi had written to court and the prosecution in regards to the case and his caution to the accused. The accused Christopher Obey was sentenced to 15 years , Mr Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa was sentenced to 5 years and Jimmy Lwamafa was sentenced to 7 years they were also ordered to as well as to refund shs. 50 billion of the shs. 88.2 billion jointly.
In his judgment the honourable justice informed the accused of their right to appeal .
Under the Constitution, everyone not satisfied with a decision can chose to appeal it, however, such appeals should be made within 14 days. However, there are cases where Court may allow a person to make an appeal after 14 days, but the person should give good reasons as to why he/ she was not able to make the appeal within 14 days.