Budget corruption: Evidence against MPs presented in court

Bunyole East MP Yusuf Mutembuli (left) and Lwengo District Woman MP Cissy Namujju (right) at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala on June 17, 2024. PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • The trio allegedly solicited 20 percent of the rights commission’s budget.
  • It’s alleged that MP Mutembuli who was one of the members of the said committee, heard Ms Wagandya highlight the financial challenges that her Commission faces.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) shall adduce several pieces of evidence including CCTV footage at Hotel Africana, and audio recordings among others to prove the corruption charges against three MPs who are now facing budget corruption, the Monitor  has learnt.

The evidence was contained in the summary of the case that the DPP presented to the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala yesterday upon completion of investigations and was sent to the High Court. 
The MPs are Paul Akamba (Busiki County), Yusuf Mutembuli (Bunyole East), and Cissy Namujju Dionizza (District Woman representative of Lwengo).

According to the summary of the evidence before the court, the trio met the chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Mariam Wagandya on May 13 this year at Hotel Africana  and promised to help her have the Commission’s budget enhanced by the Budget Committee of Parliament.

It’s alleged that the trio pledged to influence the parliamentary Budget Committee to increase the UHRC’s budget for the 2024/2025 financial year in exchange for 20 percent of the said commission’s budget.
“…All the above discussions were captured on the recording device, which Ms Wangadya had placed on the table and after the meeting, she returned it to the security personnel who had given it to her. It was the basis upon which investigations in this case were commenced,” reads in part the indictment presented before the court.

It adds:  “…During investigations, police secured a closed circuit television (CCTV) footage from Hotel Africana for the  May 13, 2024 meeting and submitted it for analysis.”
The summary of the case further states that last year, Ms Wangadya led the management team of UHRC to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, where they presented the Commission’s Policy Statement and Budget Framework paper for the Financial 2023/2024.

It’s alleged that MP Mutembuli who was one of the members of the said committee, heard Ms Wagandya highlight the financial challenges that her Commission faces.

“… After the above meeting and while still within the precincts of Parliament, Ms Wangadya interacted with A1 (MP Mutembuli) who offered to assist her in solving the UHRC’s financial challenges. However, A1 explained that this would only be possible if Ms Wagandya remitted to him and his undisclosed colleagues 5 percent of the Commission’s budget that had been presented to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament on that day,” the indictment reads in part.

It adds: “A1 (Mutembuli) then requested Ms Wangadya for the telephone number of the accounting officer of UHRC to enable him to have further discussions on the matter with her, which Ms Wangadya provided. In turn, A1 (MP Mutembuli) gave his business card to Ms Wangadya to be passed on to the accounting officer of UHRC. On returning to UHRC offices, Ms Wangadya briefed the accounting officer about the discussion that she had with A1 and also handed over A1’s business card to her.”

It’s further alleged that the accounting officer called MP Mutembuli and the two agreed to meet at their offices in Naguru, Kampala, during which meeting, he (MP Mutembuli) reiterated his demand to be given five percent of the Commission’s anticipated budget.

Ms Mariam Wangadya, the chairperson of UHRC. 

The indictment shows that the accounting officer indicated to MP Mutembuli that it would not be possible for the Commission to give him the 5 percent and that indeed, the Commission’s budget was never increased that financial year, 2023/2024.
“…After she met with A1 (MP Mutembuli), the accounting officer of UHRC reported back to Ms Wangadya about her meeting and A1’s demands for five percent of the Commission’s budget. In the result, Ms Wangadya reported A1’s demands to His Excellency the President of Uganda who promised to handle the matter,” the summary of the case reads.

It’s against this backdrop that Ms Wagandya reportedly laid a trap for MP Mutembuli on May 13 at Hotel Africana where she asked security personnel to provide her with devices to record him and his co-accused, MPs Namujju and Akamba.

“Ms Wangadya then proceeded to Hotel Africana with the recording device and while in the parking, she switched it on and called A1 (MP Mutembuli) who directed her to find him at Elgon restaurant. Ms Wangadya proceeded to Elgon restaurant where she found A1 with another gentleman. A1 introduced the gentleman as Hon Paul Akamba, a Member of Parliament for Busiki Constituency (A2). A1 then explained to Ms Wangadya that he was going to work with A2 to help her with the budget issues for UHRC,” the court papers state.

It adds: “That A1 (MP Mutembuli) and A2 (MP Akamba), however, informed Ms Wangadya that they were still waiting for another Member of Parliament who was the very crucial person to join them. As they waited for the crucial person, A1 and A2 engaged Ms Wangadya in a discussion of the Commission’s budget and funding gaps. Eventually, the trio was joined by a lady who was introduced by A1 and A2 as Hon Cissy Namujju Dionizia (A3). A1 revealed to Ms Wangadya that A3 was the crucial person they had been waiting for.”

Back at court yesterday, following the trio’s committal to stand trial before the High Court, presiding Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro said they are free to apply for bail from there.
By press time last evening, it was not clear when the remanded MPs would apply and be released on bail.
 Meanwhile, MP Akamba, who was re-arrested after securing bail last Friday, was absent in court.