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IGG wants Iganga town officers disciplined 'over fraud'

By George Bita

Added 18th July 2017 11:58 AM

Deputy IGG Wangadya has directed the district criminal investigations officer to follow up the issue.

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Deputy IGG Wangadya has directed the district criminal investigations officer to follow up the issue.

PIC: Hussein Kato (left) and mayor David Balaba (2nd-right) tour council projects in Iganga town. (Credit: George Bita)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT | IGANGA


It started with a complaint to the inspectorate of government (IGG) six years ago. Now the outcome spells doom for two Iganga municipal council workers.

The duo purportedly made a move to transfer money from the council road fund coffers to a private account for selfish motives.

Mariam Wangadya, the deputy IGG, says that they had based investigations on a complaint against then-acting town clerk Hussein Kato and treasurer Moses Isiko over a fraudulent transfer of sh74.6m.

Kato has since been moved to a new posting in northern division as the divisional clerk.

Genesis of the investigation

“On January 12, 2011 a numberless voucher worth sh46.1m was prepared under C&B United Civil Engineers and Contractors Company Ltd using names of Moses Kwesiga. On the same day, another numberless voucher worth sh28m was made using the same names,” reveals Wangadya.

The payments were purportedly in respect of advance payment for resealing 0.25km of the Wagoina road in the municipality.

Wangadya further explains that on January 13, 2011, a cheque number 000074 dated December 2010 worth sh74.6m was drawn from the Iganga municipal council road fund account at Crane Bank (now DFCU), Iganga branch.

She adds that the RTGS fund transfer application form dated January 12, 2011 was signed by then-acting town clerk Kato. This was done to transfer sh74.6m from the road fund account number 0145060566800 by cheque number 000074 to account number 03029850002 in Bank of Africa (U) Jinja in the name of Moses Kwesiga I.

A letter dated January 13, 2011 jointly signed by Kato and Isiko informed the manager of the then Crane Bank, Iganga branch that the payment was to be made to Moses Kwesiga Isiko of C& B United Civil Engineers and Contractors Ltd.

IGG investigations reportedly established that Isiko opened an account at Bank of Africa, Jinja branch a day before the transfer purposely to deposit the money there.

“A bank inspection was conducted on account number 03029850002 in Bank of Africa in names of Moses Kwesiga. The account details bear the picture of Moses Isiko who is designated as head of finance at Iganga municipal council,” adds Wangadya.

Stephen Kwesiga, the risk manager at Bank of Africa, says that the sh74.6m transferred onto Isiko’s account caused it to be flagged as a suspicious transaction in line with the anti-money laundering guidelines of Bank of Uganda.

According to Kwesiga, when contacted, Isiko alleged that C& B United Civil Engineering and Contractors had granted him powers to receive money on their behalf.

It was further discovered that the identity card used by Isiko to open the bank account onto which the cash was transferred bore the name Moses Kwesiga I., instead of Moses Isiko on his valid ID card.

“On January 21, 2011, Isiko walked into the bank with a one Charles Odongo posing as company director. Interestingly, the voters card number 015716584 which Odongo presented as proof of identity turned out to be of Paul Suaji Mukama,” Wangadya says.

IGG investigations established that whereas on January 14, 2011 the money was credited to Isiko’s personal account in Jinja, it was returned on May 21, 2011 to the roads account it originated from.

Way forward

The Inspectorate of government recommended disciplinary action against the Iganga municipal officers who attempted to defraud council of sh74m.

Wangadya has directed the district criminal investigations officer to follow up the issue of uttering forged documents to Bank of Africa by Isiko.

She argued that Isiko attempted, through forgery to defraud, Iganga municipal council while Kato, as acting town clerk was an accomplice since he authorised the payment.

Wangadya directed that both Isiko and Kato be submitted to the district service commission for appropriate disciplinary action for being accomplices in an attempt to defraud Iganga municipal council.

James Luyimbazi, the acting Iganga town clerk, acknowledges to having submitted the IGG recommendation to the district service commission last year with an omission that frustrated due action.

“Refer to my communication of June 24, 2016 in regard to disciplinary action against Hussein Kato. The officer’s personal file was not forwarded alongside the said communication so I forward now for appropriate action,” Luyimbazi assures in a June 28 letter to the secretary of district service commission.

Muunu Nyende, the secretary of the Iganga district service commission confirms receipt of the town clerk’s communication.

 

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