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Court remands MPs Mawanda, Akamba and Wamakuyu over corruption

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Law makers of Igara East Michael Mawanda, Busiki County Paul Akamba, Elgon County Mudimi Wamakuyu and lawyer Julius Kirya Taitankoko have been remanded to Luzira Prison.

The quintet is accused of Diversion of funds and conspiracy to defraud Shs164 billion meant for compensating cooperative societies.

Prosecution avers that between 2019 and 2023, Elgon County MP Mudimi Wamakuyu, Leonard Kavundira, the Assistant Registrar of Cooperatives in the Ministry of Trade, Mawanda, Akamba, and Kirya conspired to defraud Shs7.3 billion budgeted for compensation of Buyaka Growers Cooperatives Society Limited.

The prosecution alleges that Mawanda, in October 2021, in Kampala, diverted public funds amounting to Shs1,050,000 to unrelated purposes. Akamba and Wanakuyu allegedly diverted Shs2.3 billion and Shs200 million for their benefit. Kirya allegedly diverted Shs2.2 billion.

The suspects also conspired to defraud Shs3.4 billion meant for the Buyaka Cooperative Society.

Mawanda and Bulambuli Constituency MP Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi were summoned last week to appear before Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) detectives and record statements over their involvement in the corruption scandal.

Appearing before Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro, the accused’s lawyers agreed not to apply for bail because their clients were brought to court late, thus denying them a chance to interact with them. They were subsequently remanded to Luzira prison until July 9, 2024.

The prosecution asked for one month to prepare documents and submit them to the lawyers of the accused in the Shs164 billion cooperatives case. Earlier, the prosecution had told the court that they were ready with evidence and only waiting for a hearing date.

Last year, the former State Minister for Trade, Harriet Ntababazi, revealed that up to 30 legislators were facing criminal investigation over their alleged role in the embezzlement of Shs164 billion meant for compensation to cooperative societies.

According to the report that parliament sent to CID and the Inspectorate of Government for further investigations, there were only two MPs supposed to be quizzed. They are Elgon County MP Mudimi Wamakuyu and Igara East MP Michael Mawanda, while former Kyankwanzi District Woman MP Anne Maria Nankabirwa is also a target.

In 2011/2012, the Ugandan government allocated Shs164 billion to compensate cooperative societies that lost funds and property during wars between 1979 and 2006. The disbursement of funds has been marred by irregularities, with some MPs and government officials accused of conspiring to embezzle the funds.

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