On Tuesday, July 29, Parliament’s Director for Budget Samuel Wanyaka was given a ten year jail sentence by Justice Paul Mugamba, after the former was convicted for embezzling Shs822 million. On top of the sentence Mr Wanyaka was ordered to pay back all the money, and is not supposed to get a public job for the next 10 years, which is the duration of his sentence anyway.
But in all fairness, Justice Mugamba’s ruling is supposed to act as a deterrent to other public officers who hemorrhage the taxpayers money with reckless abandon, and it would only be prudent if more ‘big thieves’ who dip their dirty fingers in the public purse faced the same punishment like Mr Wanyaka.
Mr Wanyaka’s prosecution was led by the Inspectorate of Government and it is important to note that Ugandans expect a lot more from the IGG’s office because as an institution it has the unique opportunity to investigate and prosecute cases.
Be that as it may, below Eagle Online details some other cases that the IGG is handling and the ones that have been disposed off, beginning with most pronounced.
Uganda vs Prof. Gilbert Bukenya
Prof.Gilbert Bukenya, a former vice president of the Republic of Uganda was charged with abuse of office contrary to section 11 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009. The facts are that while acting as Chairman of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) cabinet subcommittee on various occasions unlawfully and high handedly, directed the award of the contract to supply Executive vehicles to Motorcare (U) Ltd without following the procurement laws and regulations.
On Friday October 14, 2011, before Justice Mugamba, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and the case was adjourned to 7th November 2011 when hearing will commence.
However, in a petition, No.30 of 2011 to the Constitutional Court, Prof Bukenya’s lawyers led by MacDosman Kabega challenged the constitutionality of trying ‘for acts in his official capacity as the Vice President of Uganda, and also whether an acting IGG has the authority to perform the functions of the IGG’.
The IGG responded to both challenges, and citing Articles 98 (4) and (5), the Inspectorate reasoned that it is only the President of Uganda who enjoys the privilege of immunity and that in his capacity as Vice President Prof Bukenya could be prosecuted for both civil and criminal offences. Also, citing Article 223 and Section 2 of the IG Act No.5/2002, the Inspectorate reasoned that in his capacity as Deputy IGG then, Raphael Baku Obudra could carry out prosecutorial functions on behalf of the institution because he was a substantive D/IGG.
“There is no position designated as Acting IGG currently. However, the current IGG, Mr. Raphael Obudra Baku is substantively a deputy IGG who now happens to be carrying out the duties of IGG since the position of the substantive IGG has not yet been filled,” the IGG’ office opined. It added: “This, however, does not nullify his position and powers as Deputy IGG who is capable of prosecuting offences. We do consider this to be an internal administrative arrangement which does not affect the capacity of the officer to perform his constitutional duties.”
However, on November 4, 2011, just a few days before his trial was to commence, government dropped all charges against the former VP when the IGG learnt that ‘the state has been dragged to court in civil litigation by Spear Motors’, which was one of the companies vying for the lucrative deal.
Maj .Gen.Jim Muhwezi, Capt. Mike Mukula, Dr Alex Kamugisha and Alice Kaboyo Vs the Attoney General and IGG.
Health Minister Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi and his deputies Capt Mike Mukula and Dr Alex Kamugisha and, State House aide Alice Kaboyo, had been investigated by the Office of the IGG, which recommended that they be prosecuted for mismanaging about Shs1.6 billion Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) funds.
The four petitioned the Constitutional Court, challenging the investigations, findings and recommendations made by the Inspectorate of Government in the GAVI funds report dated April, 2007. The petition also sought to challenge some provisions of the Inspectorate of Government Act of 2002, the Leadership Code Act of 2002 and the Appointment of the former Inspector General of Government.
The matter was duly heard by five Judges of the Constitutional Court and the ruling signed by then Deputy Chief justice Leaticia Mukasa Kikonyogo summarized thus: (1) This petition succeeds in part to the extent that the appointment of an IGG who is a judicial officer contravenes the doctrine of Separation of Powers established in Chapters six, seven and eight of the Constitution and is therefore void. It also contravenes the provision of article 223(4) of the Constitution. It does not contravene any other provisions of the Constitution.
The investigations the arrest and prosecution of the petitioners by the IGG at the request or “instructions” of the President did not contravene any article of the Constitution.
The prosecution of the petitioners by the IGG did not contravene the provisions of article 230 of the Constitution or any other article.
Each party shall bear its own costs.Other Judges on the Coaram included Lady Justice Alice Mpagi Bahigeine, Justice Amos Twinomujuni, Lady Justice Constance Kategaya Byamugisha and Justice Steven Kavuma.
Anyway, the four were put on trial and in the ensuing hearing court and in July 2012, acquitted all the three ministers on charges of mismanaging the GAVI funds, but maintained that Mukula had an embezzlement case to answer. As for Ms Kaboyo, she admitted culpability and was ordered to refund the Shs20 million, which she did and was let off the hook, while Mukula appealed the ruling in the Court of Appeal and was also acquitted.
Uganda vs Akankwasa and three others
Damien Akankwasa, the National Forestry Authority Executive Director was jointly charged with Molly Kyepaka Karuhanga, the NFA Legal Officer, Charles Twagira, the Managing Director of Beachside Development Services and Leuben Arinaitwe, a Range Officer of NFA.
The four were severally charged with Abuse of Office, Conspiracy to defraud and Causing Financial Loss of Shs3.2 billion to NFA and the Government of Uganda and the case was heard by the Anti-corruption court in Kololo.
Earlier, in April 2011 the Constitutional Court led by Deputy Chief Justice Alice Mpagi Bahigeine had dismissed a petition challenging the jurisdiction of the IGG to investigate him. Other judges on the panel included Lady Justices Constance Kategaya Byamugisha and Stella Amoko Arach and Justices Steven Kavuma and Augustine Nshimye Sebuturo.
“The ruling in that reference applies to the instant case with the result that we dismiss it with costs. The record of the lower court (magistrate/anti-corruption) is returned with the direction that the trial magistrate should proceed with trial of the applicant forthwith,” the Judges ruled, paving the way for Akankwasa’s trial.
Uganda vs Herbert Sabila Kaale (MP) and two others
In March 2011, Herbert Kaale Sabila, the then Member of Parliament for Tingey County in Kapchorwa District, was charged with offering a Shs700.000 bribe to an Inspectorate Officer. He was jointly charged with Nathan Chelimo and Sammy Nelson and they were all convicted and each sentenced to pay a fine of Shs 4 million. Prosecution leading to the MP’s conviction was led by officers from the IGG’s office. He appealed the sentence but in October 2014 the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Rubby Aweri Opio, Kenneth Kakuru and Egonda Ntende upheld the earlier ruling by Anti-corruption Judge John Bosco Katutsi.
“As we have noted, after an appraisal, we have found that there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to find that money changed hands… as contended by the prosecution (IGG),” the ruling read in part.
Uganda vs Sarah Kulata Basangwa
A female adult working as Commissioner Land Registration, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is charged with abuse of office contrary to section 11 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009 for hastily and unlawfully registering M/S Kikonyogo Investments as the proprietors of land in Lubowa estate to the detriment of M/S Lakeside Investments, reportedly the true purchasers and owners of the land.
She was summoned to appear in court on November 4, 2011 to plead to the charge of abuse of office. She later appealed and her case, HCT-00-CV-MA-0465-2011, was heard by Justice Eldard Mwangushya.
Uganda vs Peter Odok W’oceng, Charles Otai, Paul Peter Etot
Peter Odok W’oceng, the former LCV chairperson of Agago district, Charles Otai, the former acting Chief Administrative officer all of Pader district local Government and a one Paul Peter Etot of Ms Rising Star Transport Ltd were charged before the Anti-Corruption Court with two counts of abuse of office, causing financial loss and conspiracy to defraud, all contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act and the Penal Code Act. The three were involved in the illegal and irregular award of a tender to repair district vehicles and eventual payment of over Shs50 million to Ms. Rising Star Transport Ltd.
On October 28, 2011, Odok W’Oceng and Etot appeared before a magistrate of the Anti-Corruption court and entered pleas of not guilty and were granted bail of Ushs3 million and their sureties ordered to pay 100m non-cash. Then, Otai did not take plea and the case was adjourned to November 2011.However, the IGG Website does not give an update of how the case ended.
David Kiyimbwa Kiyingi
David Kiyimbwa Kiyingi, then an Assistant Commissioner for Procurement in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, was charged with abuse of office and causing financial loss of Shs240 million when he reportedly inflated prices during procurement of textbooks while still in the Ministry of Education and Sports in 2008.
The case was before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, but just like in many instances involving prosecution by the Inspectorate of Government, it was not possible to glean any more information from the IGG Website.
Fred Katamba, Mukono ACAO
On April 17, 2014, Fred Katamba, the Senior Assistant Secretary (ACA0) of Mukono District Local Government was charged with solicitation of gratification of Shs4 million and receipt of gratification of Shs1 million and was removed from office o recommendation of the inspectorate and in 2009 Katamba had challenged his removal from office, but the court dismissed his petition with costs to the IGG.
Besalari Saulo Okello, Ocira George and Okot Jalon
Saulo Besalari Okello, George Ocira and Joan Okot were officers of Acholi Cooperative Union. They embezzled Shs400 million from the Cooperative and they were all convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment and ordered by Court to repay the 400 million.
John Achiga Chiga, the District Engineer for Moyo, under case HCT-ACD- Criminal Case Appeal No. 5 of 2010, appealed against a three-year prison sentence for misappropriating Shs5.5 million for road construction. The appeal was dismissed and conviction of three years in prison confirmed.
Wycliff Gashenyi Vs Uganda
On March 4, 2011, John Wycliff Gashenyi, the Town Clerk of Kiboga Town Council appealed against the conviction and sentence to pay a fine of Uganda shillings two million for abuse of office for his role in selling town council land at Katanjovu without authority.
However, the Anti-corruption Court dismissed the appeal, confirmed the sentence of the lower court and increased the punishment by ordering Gahenyi to pay compensation of Uganda shillings five million to Kiboga Town Council.
IGG vs Ruth Kizza and others
The accused persons who included Ruth Kizza, Gideon Bwahuha, Eresi Ithunga and Jackson Kizza, all teachers of Nyakiyumba SSS, were charged with the offence of uttering forged appointment letters and posting instructions. They all pleaded guilty to the charges and were each sentenced to imprisonment for one year or a fine of Shs500,000.
Uganda vs Gad Aziku
The Arua Senior Staff Surveyor was charged with soliciting and receiving gratification of Shs400, 000. He took plea on January 29, 2014.
Uganda vs Christopher Odongo
Matter came up for sentencing on August, 4, 2014, and the accused person was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for each count of fraudulent false accounting and 30 months imprisonment for each count of causing financial loss. Court further ordered him to refund Shs41 million which was lost under his management.
Uganda Vs Harison Mukiza
Harison was a Regional Supervisor of Soroti Karamoja Region under Allied Health Professional’s Council. On 8/04/2014 he was charged with soliciting and receiving gratification of Shs2 million.
Uganda vs Bainomugisha John Bosco
The accused was a NAADS Coordinator of Birere Sub County, Isingiro district. On 9/04/2014 he was charged with receiving gratification of Shs50,000.
Tororo sub county chief
The Sub County Chief of Sikuda in Tororo district charged with uttering false documents and impersonation. The accused was convicted of both and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment or 500,000 shillings on each count on January 27.
Uganda vs Yedida Biribonwa Ssentongo
The Inspectorate of Government suffered an acquittal when in the case of Uganda vs Yedida Biribonwa Sentongo, the accused was acquitted of charges of causing financial loss and abuse of office. The Inspectorate of Government disagreed with the trial court decision and appealed against the acquittal.
Uganda Vs Abel Muhumuza
Abel Muhumuza, the OC CID for Rubaya Police Post, was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months on each charge of soliciting and receiving a bribe before her Worship Irene Akankwasa, the Chief Magistrate of the Anti-Corruption Court at Kololo.
Going by the above cases prosecuted by the IGG, the success rate is high. However, compared to the billions of shillings lost by government through fraud by public officials, the scorecard is still wanting. Also, Ugandans want to see some ‘big fish’ fished out of the pond that is Uganda and if that happens then we can start chest-thumping about routing the menace that is corruption.