Ex-NSSF board chairman’s case for today
Posted Tuesday, October 8 2013 at 01:00
The Constitutional Court is today expected to hear a case in which former National Social Security Fund (NSSF) board chairman Geoffrey Onegi-Obel is challenging the constitutionality of being prosecuted under the Anti Corruption Act of 2009 for offenses allegedly committed between 2003 and 2005.
His constitutional reference will be heard by a panel of five justices led by Remmy Kasule.
Other judges on the Bench are: Solomy Balungi Bossa, Eldad Mwangusya, Lillian Tibatemwa and Kenneth Kakuru.
Mr Oneg-Obel’s core contention is that the suspended Anti-Corruption Court, which was formed in 2009, does not have the powers to try crimes committed before it came into effect.
Prior to his case being referred to the Constitutional Court for interpretation about three years ago, he was being prosecuted by the suspended Anti Corruption Court over charges of causing a financial loss of Shs8 billion to government, and abuse of office.
The prosecution (IGG) had objected to this constitutional reference on grounds that the IGG has powers to prosecute a person either under the old law or the new law.
Prosecution alleges that Mr Onegi-Obel and others still at large committed arbitrary acts prejudicial to the interests of NSSF between 2003 and 2005. He denies the charges.
Court records indicate that Mr Onegi-Obel allegedly carried out, on behalf of NSSF, an illegal private business when he went into a joint venture with Mugoya Estates Ltd, a construction company, and made the Fund pay Shs8b without ensuring financial capability for the investment.
The joint venture with Mugoya Estates was to build housing estates in Mpigi District. The IGG contends that proper bidding procedures were ignored and a feasibility study was not carried out, causing NSSF a loss of Shs8 billion.
Mr Oneg-Obel was initially charged jointly with Mr Leonard Mpuuma, the Fund’s former managing director, former Labour minister Zoe Bakoko Bakoru who is now in self-imposed exile in USA and businessman James Isabirye.
However, in March 2008, the charges against Mr Mpuuma were dropped after he pleaded guilty to causing a financial loss of Shs100m and was fined accordingly.