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Soroti University secretary charged over corruption

By Michael Odeng, Douglas Mubiru

Added 1st April 2019 08:53 AM

She is accused of diverting sh1.6b meant for capital development to payment of employee allowances, rent, retainer fees, inland travel disbursement and legal fees

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Soroti University secretary Ruth Etibot Achimo at the Anti-Corruption Court. Photo by Michael Odeng

She is accused of diverting sh1.6b meant for capital development to payment of employee allowances, rent, retainer fees, inland travel disbursement and legal fees

Four senior government officials including Soroti University secretary Ruth Etibot Achimo faces 10 years in Prison if convicted of the charges of corruption that were read to them before the Anti-Corruption Court.

Others are Steven Mwembe, a senior law enforcement officer at Bugembe Town Council, Francis Kiwanuka, the Lyatonde district water engineer and James Mugambe, the principal of Barlonyo Agro-Technical Institute in Lira.

The accused appeared before the Anti-Corruption on Friday and denied charges of diversion of public resources, corruption and false accounting.

The State House Anti-Corruption Unit, led by Lt Col Edith Nakalema, arrested the officials last week.

It is alleged that Achimo, 59, and Edward Obeele, 40, the former university bursar who is still at large, diverted sh1.6b meant for capital development to the payment of employee allowances, rent, retainer fees, inland travel disbursement and legal fees.

The prosecution alleges that the duo between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, at Soroti University diverted sh513.4m, meant for capital development to the payment of employee allowances and inland travels for their own and other employees benefit.

It is also alleged that the duo in the same period and place diverted sh69.6m to the payment of rent for the benefit of Joseph Esonyu and Chrisams Designers Limited.

They are also accused of diverting sh1b to the payment of disbursement, retainer and legal fees in respect to short-term legal consultancy services for the benefit of Okurut and Company Advocates.

Achimo tried to conceal her identity as she wrapped her head with a scarf. She appeared before Grade One Magistrate Moses Nabende who released her on sh10m cash bail.

  uth tibot chimo yatonde district engineer rancis iwanuka and senior law enforcement officer of ugembe own ouncil teven wembe concealing their faces at the ntiorruption ourt in ololo ampala hoto by ichael deng(L- R) Ruth Etibot Achimo, Lyatonde district engineer Francis Kiwanuka and senior law enforcement officer of Bugembe Town Council Steven Mwembe concealing their faces at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala. Photo by Michael Odeng

 

Her sureties were bonded at sh300m not cash. They are Angela Asiimwe Okula, 65, the owner of Tamarind Gardens in Soroti, Simon Orena, the owner of Stardust Enterprises and Dr Charles Omagor, a lecturer of Kyambogo University, all relatives of the accused.

“You will not enter your work premises to enable the police complete investigations,” the magistrate directed.

Mwembe, 34, who is battling charges of corruption, was also released on sh2.8m cash bail by magistrate Nabende. His sureties were directed to execute sh10m not cash.

Mwembe is accused of accepting a sh500,000 bribe from William Mpagi as an undue advantage for himself while asserting that he was able to exert improper influence over the decision of the land probe commission.

Mugabe, 52, and Kiwanuka were charged with false accounting before grade one magistrate Sarah Namusobya. Mugabe was released on cash bail of sh8m while Kiwanuka sh6m cash.

Prosecution alleges that engineer Kiwanuka in May 2017, in abuse of the authority of his office, did an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of his employer when he regularly instructed Jose Service Garage to deliver motor vehicle maintenance services to Lyatonde in violation of the established Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) laws, regulations and procedures.

It is alleged that Mugabe on May 9, 2016, at Barlonyo Agro-Technical Institute in Lira district, being employed as the principal and charged with the receipt, custody and management of funds meant for a start-up grant, knowingly furnished a false statement of accountability of over sh44m to the permanent secretary of Ministry of Education.

State prosecutors Marion Aciro and Kwezira Asiimwe told their respective magistrates that investigations on the matter were still ongoing.

The respective magistrates adjourned the matters for two weeks.

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