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300 officials charged with corruption

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th April 2009 03:00 AM

OVER 350 people are facing corruption charges countrywide, with only two cases having reached the High Court, records obtained from the Judiciary indicate.

OVER 350 people are facing corruption charges countrywide, with only two cases having reached the High Court, records obtained from the Judiciary indicate.

By Anne Mugisa
and Hillary Nsambu


OVER 350 people are facing corruption charges countrywide, with only two cases having reached the High Court, records obtained from the Judiciary indicate.

Most of the cases are in Kampala with the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Buganda Road having the bulk of the cases with 65 files and Nakawa Magistrate’s Court with 21 files. These are followed by Mbarara with 19, Mukono with 14 and Kasese with 13.

About 150 of the cases are embezzlement while others are of causing financial loss, abuse of office, corruption and defeating justice.

The cases are at different stages. Some are at the mention stage meaning that trial of the suspects has not yet started although the case has already been taken to court.

The others have been part heard while the Courts have issued warrants of arrest for nine of the suspects who are at large.

The newly established Anti-corruption Court, a division of the High Court, has already convicted two suspects who were involved embezzlement of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The two are Teddy Seezi Cheeye, the Director of Economic Monitoring in the Internal Security Organisation, who got a penalty of 28 years imprisonment for seven counts.

He got 10 years for embezzlement and three years for each of the forgery counts which adds to 28 years but he will physically serve 10 years because he serves the sentences concurrently. He will also refund sh110m to the Global Fund.

The other is Fred Kavuma, a former programme producer of the defunct UTV. He got a five year jail term and was also ordered to pay back the sh41m he was convicted of embezzling.

Who is next?
By Barbara Among

MANY Ugandans by now know a thing or two about what has come to be known as the Global Fund. Uganda pioneered the formation of the fund and also became the first to be implicated in the mismanagement of its money. Fours years ago, the Fund suspended its five Ugandan grants after it learned of “serious mismanagement” by the Project Management Unit, which was within the Ministry of Health. A total of $1.6m (sh3.2b) was lost to embezzlement.

President Yoweri Museveni then instituted a commission of inquiry into the embezzlement. The Commission headed by Justice James Ogoola, produced its report in 2007, upon which several investigations have been constituted.

The commission called for probe of 373 people, including the former ministers.
Prosecution of 20 people, including former health ministers implicated in the loss of $1.6m Global Fund money, started in August 2008.

Three staff from the UK Serious Fraud office is assisting the office of the DPP in prosecuting the culprits. Additional help also came from the European Anti-Fraud Office. DPP last year picked up 20 cases depending on their gravity but had indicated that more would be added to his list. However, no detail has been revealed about the cases.

According to reliable sources, among the officials to be prosecuted are former Minister of Health Jim Muhwezi, his deputies Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha, former Director of the Project Management Unit Tiberius Muhebwa and MP Winnie Matsiko.

The Director of Economic Monitoring in the Internal Security Organisation, Teddy Ssezi Cheeye and former Uganda Broadcasting Corporation journalist Fred Kavuma have been prosecuted.

The probe found former health minister Jim Muhwezi “politically responsible and accountable for the overall mismanagement of the project.” It also found the overall project co-ordinator, Dr. Tiberius Muhebwa, his financial controller, Moses Opondo and the individual staff of the Project Management Unit responsible for loss of funds.

They were also required to return Global Fund money they had misused. Others implicated are Dr. Elizabeth Madra, the programme manager of the AIDS Control Programme and individual officers. The probe recommended that they refund the money.

The Commission recommends that the three Personal Assistants, Simon Kagumire, Daniel Kalule, and Sam Barasa should be investigated for any criminal conduct with a view to prosecution for forgery among others, uttering false documents, and causing financial loss to the project.

The commission said that Paula Turyahikayo’s appointment in preference to the best rated candidate and her relationship with Hon. Muhwezi and Dr Muhebwa needed to be further investigated.

The commission findings resulted in the disbanding of the Global Fund Project Management Unit (PMU). The PMU staff members alone were supposed to refund close to sh1bn. However, records show that only Mary Musoke, the former PMU accountant, had so far refunded sh2m.

The Ogoola commission had recommended that the over 300 sub-recipients and individuals be further audited with a view to recover the monies, but records show that only nine, mainly institutions, have paid. Over sh3bn that was misappropriated or advanced to the project recipients, but was unaccounted for is to be reimbursed.

Close to sh700m has been recovered from individuals and institutions implicated in the misappropriation of the Global Fund money. The biggest single refund is from DFCU Bank, which paid back sh455m. The refund was the commission paid to an individual who linked the bank to handle the multi-million dollar project account.

The finance ministry has also paid back sh172m, while sh40m was also refunded by an unidentified Government department.

The refunds made to an account in Bank of Uganda show the Ministry of Education and Sports paid back sh22.2m; Multi-purpose Art Studio sh2m and the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry sh0.9m of the sh99m it is supposed to pay back.
By August last year, the Ministry of Finance, said it had received refunds of sh692m.

Others asked to refund the money include Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, whose Busiro North Development Foundation obtained sh80m. Daniel Kalule, the Personal Assistant to Hon. Alex Kamugisha, to refund sh1.8m.

The cases are at different stages. Some are at the mention stage, meaning trial of the suspects has not yet started although the case has already been taken to court. The others have been partly heard while the Courts have issued warrants of arrest for nine of the suspects who are at large.

The newly established Anti-corruption Court, a division of the High Court, has already convicted two suspects who were involved embezzlement of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The two are Teddy Seezi Cheeye, the Director of Economic Monitoring in the Internal Security Organisation, who got a penalty of 28 years imprisonment for seven counts. The other is Fred Kavuma, a former programme producer of the defunct UTV who is in jail for five years and was also ordered to pay back the sh41m he was convicted of embezzling.

Meanwhile, the Anti-corruption court is to resume trying two more Global Fund suspects mid this month, the registrar in charge of Anti-corruption court, has said.

Directors of Valued Health Limited, Annaliza Mondon and Elizabeth Ngororano who are accused of embezzling sh18.7m from Global Fund will be tried. They are charged with embezzlement and making false documents.

Prosecution said the accused on January 7, 2003 applied for sh45.5m on behalf of Valued Health Limited, from the health ministry to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria but instead misappropriated the money.

Additional reporting by Edward Anyoli


By Anne Mugisa
and Hillary Nsambu


OVER 350 people are facing corruption charges countrywide, with only two cases having reached the High Court, records obtained from the Judiciary indicate.

Most of the cases are in Kampala with the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Buganda Road having the bulk of the cases with 65 files and Nakawa Magistrate’s Court with 21 files. These are followed by Mbarara with 19, Mukono with 14 and Kasese with 13.

About 150 of the cases are embezzlement while others are of causing financial loss, abuse of office, corruption and defeating justice.

The cases are at different stages. Some are at the mention stage meaning that trial of the suspects has not yet started although the case has already been taken to court.

The others have been part heard while the Courts have issued warrants of arrest for nine of the suspects who are at large.

The newly established Anti-corruption Court, a division of the High Court, has already convicted two suspects who were involved embezzlement of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The two are Teddy Seezi Cheeye, the Director of Economic Monitoring in the Internal Security Organisation, who got a penalty of 28 years imprisonment for seven counts.

He got 10 years for embezzlement and three years for each of the forgery counts which adds to 28 years but he will physically serve 10 years because he serves the sentences concurrently. He will also refund sh110m to the Global Fund.

The other is Fred Kavuma, a former programme producer of the defunct UTV. He got a five year jail term and was also ordered to pay back the sh41m he was convicted of embezzling.

300 officials charged with corruption

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