Friday December 8 2017

DPP recovers Shs71b from corruption convicts

The head of the Anti-Corruption Court,

Left to right: The head of the Anti-Corruption Court, Justice Lawrence Gidudu, Justice David Wangutusi, DPP Mike Chibita and Justice Remmy Kasule at the Anti-Corruption Court during the court open day yesterday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE  

By BETTY NDAGIRE

KAMPALA- More than Shs71 billion has been recovered by government following successful prosecution of more than 200 corruption cases since the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Court nine years ago.

This was revealed yesterday by judicial officials during the Anti-Corruption Court open day celebrations held in Kampala under the theme “Restoring integrity in Public Service. Regaining citizenship trust in the anti-corruption fight.”

Breaking down the facts, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice Mike Chibita, said in his office they have a zero tolerance policy against corruption and they are always mindful of the fact that one of the ways through which they can gain public trust is to execute their mandate with utmost integrity.

Prominent convicts
Justice Chibita said some prominent convicts from whom court recovered the money include one David Sserwamba and six others whom court convicted and ordered to pay $1.27m (about Shs4.5b), Valentino Kamya, whose case was handled through a plea bargain and was ordered to pay Shs8.4b, as well as get a three-year custodial sentence.

“Others are Geoffrey Kazinda [former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister] and three others, we have managed to get two convictions and an order for Shs316m and a third case of Shs2.1 billion is on defence hearing,” Justice Chibita said.

“Uganda Versus Jimmy Lwamafa [former permanent secretary, ministry of Public Service] and two others, these have already been convicted over diversion of pension funds and ordered to pay back to government Shs50 billion in addition to custodial sentences. Another is of John Kashaka [former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government] and five others, commonly known as the bicycles case, they were ordered to refund $1,719,454 (about Shs6.1b),” he added.

Justice Chibita said upon realising that corruption is motivated by profit, his office established an asset recovery division whose mandate is to ensure that criminals are deprived of their illicit profits. This is through effective identification and seizure of crime profits by enforcement of asset recovery orders.
The deputy Inspector General of Government, Mr George Bamugemereire, said the theme re-echoes the principles outlined in Objective 26 of the national objectives in the Constitution which compels all persons placed in positions of leadership to hold offices in trust for the people and to be answerable to the people.

“We have undertaken to improve the capacity to detect, investigate and prosecute grand and high profile corruption cases by setting up the directorate of special investigations, which we have given a threshold of Shs1 billion, they can investigate,” Mr Bamugemereire said.

He said currently, they have asked the court to focus on about five main investigations which include the recent report about the Uganda National Roads Authority fraud, Ministry of Health, Rural Electrification Agency and the Ministry of Local Government, among others.

bndagire@ug.nationmedia.com

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