The Anti- Corruption Court has cleared the former board chairman of the NSS Geoffrey Onegi Obel, of charges of abuse of office and causing financial loss.
By Andante Okanya
KAMPALA - The Anti-Corruption Court has cleared the former board chairman of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Geoffrey Onegi Obel of charges of abuse of office and causing financial loss in the acquisition of the sh8 billion Nsimbe Estates.
Justice Margaret Tibulya, in her judgement delivered on Thursday, noted that prosecution had failed to “adduce incriminating evidence” the former chairman.
It had been purported by the prosecution team, led by Director Legal Affairs at the Inspectorate of Government Sydney Asubo, that between 2003 and 2005, Onegi-Obel acted arbitrarily when he allegedly fronted on behalf of NSSF an illegal private business entity known as Premier Developments Ltd as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
It was also alleged that together with his accomplices, they made a joint venture with a private company called Mugoya Estates Ltd.
Prosecution claimed that Onegi-Obel did not ensure financial viability of the value of the money for the investment and in flagrant violation of the provisions of the NSSF Act.
The prosecution further alleged that Mugoya Construction was procured without any competitive bidding and that the sh5 billion paid to the construction firm was in excess.
Consequently, an assessment by the Ministry of Works Housing & Communications determined that the works executed were worth sh1.2 billion and yet the construction firm had received over sh6.8 billion.
But in Onegi-Obel’s defence submission, his lawyers Francis Gimara and Ronald Oine maintained that the accusation of financial loss was unrealistic.
They asked court to take note that the sh8 billion was used to buy the land, which land is still available and with a current market value of sh16 billion.
The ex-NSSF board chairman’s legal team stated he followed the requisite procedure as stipulated in the NSSF Act.
They submitted that contentious matter was a management issue approved by the board and forwarded to the then line minister Bakoko Bakoru(Gender Labour and Social Development)who then gave a no objection letter.
Also related to this story
Onegi-Obel cleared of fraud in NSSF sh8b case