Ministry of Trade PS Geraldine Ssali in Anti-Corruption court dock

Three civil servants arrested over embezzling Shs6b for salaries, pension 

The suspects at the IGG Regional office in Jinja City following their arrest on June 22, 2023. PHOTOS/RASHUL ADIDI

What you need to know:

  • According to the Inspectorate of Government, the suspects are repeat offenders who were earlier convicted by Court of embezzlement.

Three Kaliro District Local Government staff were arrested Thursday for allegedly embezzling Shs5.8b meant for paying civil servants and pensioners. 

The suspects include; the chief administrative officer (CAO), Mr Godfrey Mutome, the senior accountant in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (former District accountant), Mr John Wabwire, and the Principal Human Resource Officer, Ms Rebecca Kwagala.

The trio was arrested by a team from the Inspectorate of Government led by Mr Frederick Oketch, the Jinja Office Regional Inspectorate Officer.
Mr Mutome and Ms Kwagala were picked up from Kaliro District, while Mr Wabwire was arrested in Kampala.

"We received a complaint where it was alleged that officials of Kaliro District Local Government had embezzled funds meant for staff pension and salaries; so, we commenced investigations about a year ago and established that a total of Shs5, 806,767 was embezzled," he said on Thursday. 
He added: "We managed to arrest all the three suspects and they will be arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court."

How money was lost
According to Mr Oketch, the suspects created their own Sacco account, so they would reportedly pick money from the district's salary account and credit their Sacco account as though they were recovering loans from teachers.

"Our investigations discovered that such loans never existed, but the suspects were simply using the Sacco account as a conduit through which to channel stolen money from district accounts. We investigated and their activities were found contrary to Section 19 of Anti-Corruption Act (2009)," he added.

Repeat offenders
 
According to the Inspectorate of Government, the suspects are repeat offenders who were earlier convicted by Court of embezzlement.
"In March this year, we arrested these same people for embezzling Shs348m meant for paying teachers, and this is still also arising from pensions; so, both charges will be running co-currently," Mr Oketch explained.

He added that the suspects will be charged with embezzlement, causing financial loss and money laundering.
A report from the Inspectorate of Government indicates that Busoga Sub-region has the highest number of payroll-related crimes, all contrary to Section 19 of Anti-Corruption Act (2009).