They were once way up the ladder. However, due to financial dealings in their offices that did not go quite right, they came tumbling down. Carol Natukunda brings you the stories of how these once mighty people have been reduced to ordinary Ugandans
For starters, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), last year cleared her of all wrong doing. But everyone who knew Kabakumba before this saga will agree that it absolutely tainted her image.
For a princess who had risen through the ranks to become a senior cabinet minister, it was hard to fathom theft being linked to her.
In 2011, the Police recovered a stolen UBC transmitter from her radio station, Kings Broadcasting Services in Masindi district. Consequently, the Bujenje County MP was accused of using the transmitter and other broadcasting equipment belonging to UBC without paying for them.
This allegedly happened while she was still information and national guidance minister. In December 2011, following intense pressure from both the Cabinet and NRM to vacate her seat, the Princess resigned.
Teddy Seezi Cheeye -Global Fund saga:
The judge described Cheeye as a beast, a rogue and a mass murderer, for embezzling sh120m before handing him a 28-year sentence.
Cheeye, the former director for economic monitoring in the Internal Security Organisation, was one of the people convicted for embezzling the Global Fund money.
It was hard to believe that a sane person could steal millions of money meant for patients of tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Justice James Ogoola’s probe, implicated many NGOs and individuals, including Cheeye.
He was convicted in April 2009. Cheeye was the sole director and signatory of his NGO (Uganda Centre for Accountability) and his wife was his secretary. He was the sole operator of the company’s bank account, where sh120m was wired by telegraphic transfer from the Global Fund.
He was found to have withdrawn sh96.6m on March 15, 2005 using three cheques, two of sh20m each and one of sh56.6m. Justice J.B. Katutsi stated: “The accused set up a company, which to his knowledge was a mere sham or simulacrum, only intended to feather his own nest with ill-gotten money. He used a method not quite different from mere expedients by which rogues of his ilk seem to think they can get away from the real substance of the transaction.”
“…he is no better than a mass murderer, which in truth he is! Think of hundreds of thousands of the victims of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria who include innocent children from whom he robbed the little opportunity to receive a bit of comfort,” Katutsi responded to pleas for leniency from Cheeye’s lawyer, Peter Kabatsi.
Cheeye rose to prominence in the early 1990s as editor of the defunct Uganda Confidential, a newsletter that specialised in exposing financial scandals in government. Cheeye was asked to refund sh110m of the sh120m advanced to his organisation
David Chandi Jamwa:
Every salaried worker knows how painful it is to have even a slight cent deducted from your monthly paycheque. So when it emerged in January 2008 that there was a scam in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), workers were understandably enraged. NSSF had bought 414 acres of land in Temangalo, Wakiso district, which was hitherto owned by city businessman Amos Nzeyi and Arma Ltd, a company linked to the then security minister Amama Mbabazi. Each acre was reportedly bought at sh24m. There were allegations that NSSF did not advertise for the purchase of land as required by the PPDA Act. The sh11b-deal sparked a controversy when Mbabazi and finance minister Ezra Suruma, who approved the deal, were accused of influence-peddling and conflict of interest. The ministers denied any wrong-doing.
However, after several probes, Jamwa and his deputy Mondo Kagonyera were suspended. But it turned out that Temangalo was just one of the many controversial deals under Jamwa. He was also accused of spending workers’ money lavishly, including on gambling in American casinos. According to a KPMG report, Jamwa arbitrarily sold off several NSSF bonds before their maturity dates, which led to the loss of huge sums of money. NSSF lost over sh8b in just two days when Jamwa sold off government bonds to Crane Bank before their maturity date. In addition, the report said Jamwa instructed the bank to sell two-year bonds worth sh19b and sh9.7b on November 2, 2007, some 27 days before the date of maturity. As a result, the report added, NSSF lost the maturity value, plus the final interest payment, totalling to sh1.6b. A day later, 10 NSSF three-year bonds worth sh39b were also sold.
The probe focused on the procurement of an integrated information management system, the purchase of land in Temangalo and the status of Nsimbe Holdings, the misuse of credit cards, investments in fixed deposits and the sale of immature bonds. The auditors found that “a lot was wrong with the management of NSSF,” especially in procurement, salary advances, allowances and loans.
Former VP DR. Specioza Kazibwe, Microfinance mismanagement:
Sh60b went missing from the Microfinance Support Centre in a record three months. Kazibwe, who was the board chairperson, was subsequently suspended over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement in the office she assumed in 2008.
The centre, which is key in the implementation of the Prosperity-for-All programme, aims at transforming the rural economy through job creation and increase household incomes.
Geoffrey Kazinda, OPM cash:
Seeing him dressed in a yellow uniform — like any other inmate of Luzira Prison, you would really sympathise with Kazinda.
It is hard to imagine that this was once the elegant chief accountant in the Prime Minister’s Office. Kazinda is currently before court on over 20 counts of embezzlement, false accounting, forgery, conspiracy to commit a felony and causing financial loss amounting to sh316.8m.
Syddda Bbumba and Khiddu Makubuya
Last year, the two former ministers quit their Cabinet posts following intense pressure over abuse of office and wrongly approving compensation for city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba. Earlier, President Yoweri Museveni had told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that Basajjabalaba must refund all excess funds paid to him fraudulently and that ministers Makubuya and Bumba must take responsibility for the loss suffered by the Government in compensation claims. The President stated that the money paid to Basajjabalaba was sh169b and not the sh142b that PAC had in its report.
As attorney general, Khiddu Makubuya was allegedly requested by the President for legal opinion on the legality of compensations sought by Bassajja’s HABA Group of Companies, but never reverted to him to render the much-needed legal opinion.
For Bbumba, MPs said as finance minister, in whose custody all public funds are placed, “abused her office by acting very swiftly without exercising due diligence and undermining prudential measures instituted by technical staff to verify HABA compensation claims.”
Former VP Prof Gilbert Bukenya CHOGM scandal:
Court has cleared him of all wrong doing in the CHOGM scam and he has now sued the Government demanding over sh104m in damages. He claims he was maliciously prosecuted by the Inspector General of Government for abuse of office and fraud in the supply of executive vehicles used during the 2007 CHOGM summit in Kampala.
Bukenya had been indicted for awarding a sh9.4b contract to Motorcare to supply 204 executive vehicles. He chaired the cabinet CHOGM sub-committee which awarded the tender. On June 16, 2012 the ex-VP was indicted by the court over the charges. In the same year on October 3, he was committed for trial; and spent a week on remand at Luzira Prison. Many pundits say this was largely the reason why the self-proclaimed minister Mahogany, as he is popularly called, was dropped from cabinet. But he could bounce back anytime.
Mike Mukula - GAVI Funds:
He has termed it as selective justice, because his colleagues (Jim Muhwezi and Alex Kamugisha), were found with no case to answer. According to court findings, Mukula, while still serving as state minister for health between February 2005 and October 2005, stole sh210m from the GAVI fund account at Citibank.
“The accused refunded the money on May 17, 2005. This proved that he took the money that was part of the sh263m he received. He intentionally took the money. That tantamounts to theft,” the magistrate stated. The Magistrate ruled that the fact that Mukula refunded the money in bits and at his own will meant that he had the intention of stealing and depriving the beneficiary from utilising the money. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but he has since appealed.
Bakoko Bakoru - NSSF scandal:
Former gender minister Bakoko Bakoru was in 2006 accused of approving a private company to enter into a joint venture with NSSF, making the fund lose sh8b. She fled the country and has since been allegedly living in the US. In October 2009, the IGG dropped charges of abuse of office against Bakoru who had been on a warrant of arrest since 2006.
The IGG argued that several attempts were made to arrest Bakoru “but we have up to now failed to arrest her, so the Inspectorate has decided to withdraw charges against her.”
Jimmy Lwamafa - Pension scam:
Of the over sh165b that was misappropriated in the public service ministry, about sh155.7b was lost in payments to ghost pensioners; sh9.5b in double payments to the non-existent pensioners and sh173.9m in doubtful payment to foreign pensioners.
Several officials have been implicated and Lwamafa, being the ministry’s accounting officer, has been interdicted and sent on forced leave.
Jim Muhwezi and Dr. Alex Kamugisha- Global Fund and GAVI
Although they were acquitted, both Jim Muhwezi and Dr. Alex Kamugisha were dropped from Cabinet following allegations of embezzling the Global Fund and GAVI fund. Muhwezi has since retained his Rujumbura seat, while Kamugisha remains pretty much quiet. Alice Kaboyo, their co-accused in the GAVI funds scandal, lost her State House job.
Joseph Ekemu, the former Attorney General, lost his parliamentary seat in 2000, following his imprisonment for two years for forgery and theft.
Naava Nabagesera was once the speaker of Kampala City Council before being appointed Resident District Commissioner for Bugiri district. She later served as presidential advisor on legal affairs. She was charged with obtaining money by false pretense.
Sarah Kulata Basangwa, commissioner land registration was interdicted over land fraud allegations.
lKiwanuka Kunsa, public service ministry commissioner in charge of pension was detained over the pension scam.