OPM fraud suspect drops dead
Posted Monday, January 14 2013 at 08:27
An official in the Accountant General’s office, who was a key figure in the ongoing investigations into the billion-shilling fraud in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), died suddenly at the weekend.
Mr Amon Takwenda, who had earlier been interdicted, arrested and released on police bond, was helping the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Directorate with investigations in connection with the fraudulent transfer of Shs14.8b meant for the northern Uganda Peace Recovery & Development Programme to a dormant crisis management recovery account.
His brother, Mr Jackson Kimbesa, told the Daily Monitor that Takwenda fell sick abruptly and died on Saturday night. He had reportedly been diagnosed with hypertension and a heart condition at the beginning of the year but was receiving treatment from Naguru Hospital.
“It began on New Year’s Day when he complained of general body weakness. He went to hospital and they suspected he had hypertension. After a series of laboratory tests, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure and heart disease,” Mr Kimbesa said.
By press time, Takwenda’s body was said to have been moved to National Referral Hospital Mulago. Hospital authorities approached for comment had not responded by press time. According to Auditor General, John Muwanga’s special audit report into suspected widespread graft in the PRDP finances, Takwenda is alleged to have delivered security papers to Bank of Uganda that were used to fraudulently transfer the Shs14.8 billion.
“The signed document was later taken to BoU by the authorised Treasury agent, Amon Takwenda. BoU acknowledged receipt of the document on December 29, 2011 and simply filed it, a fact that can be confirmed by the Treasury agent.
However, BoU in their response denied ever receiving the security paper and maintained that the stamp on the copy of the security paper was not theirs,” reads part of the Auditor General’s report presented to Parliament late last year.
Takwenda was arrested after a thorough quizzing by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee together with three other officials from the Ministry of Finance.
The other three included Wilbert Okello, a principal systems analyst, Bright Atwine, a senior accountant in the treasury services department; and Tony Yahwe, a system administrator.
According to the documents confiscated from the Ministry of Finance, the four together with others are alleged to have connived to draw fraudulently Shs20 billion from the Treasury account in two phases.
They are said to have later presented forged documents to the Accountant General, Mr Gustavio Bwoch, to insinuate that the money was still in the Treasury General Account three weeks after.