David Oloka Japians admits before court that he stole over sh362m meant for foreign pensioners.
By Betty Amamukirori
David Oloka Japians, the former senior accounts assistant in the ministry of public service, has accepted before court that he stole over sh362m meant for foreign pensioners.
Japians on Monday afternoon confessed committing the crime after the Anti Corruption Court grade one magistrate read to him embezzlement charge.
The details of the charge are that, around January 27, 2009, Japians while still working at the Ministry of Public Service, embezzled US$ 102, 108 from Cairo International Bank, Kampala Road branch, which was under his authority by virtue of his position.
According to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lawyer, the accused went to Cairo Bank with a letter written by the then Principal Accountant, Christopher Obey, requesting the bank to give him drafts of cash payments for foreign pensioners.
The bank agreed and he signed and received USD87, 434. Later in the day, he again went back to the same bank with another letter from Obey and received another USD14, 674, as return drafts of payments for foreign pensioners.
Susan Okeny convicted him on the plea of guilt.
Barbara Kauma, the state prosecutor, in her mitigation told court that the DPP entered into a plea bargain with the convict and it was agreed that he refunds all the money he had stolen to the Government of Uganda.
She presented a proof of payment the accused had made to an account in Bank of Uganda. Kauma added that on top of the sh362.7m, the convict added another USD8000 which is equivalent to sh28.4m at the current exchange rate.
Kauma told court that as part of the agreement, the DDP agreed that the convict should be sentenced to a fine.
Nathan Osinde the convict’s lawyer, asked for a lenient sentence citing poor health and the fact that he has many dependents and has not wasted courts’ time.
In her judgment, Okeny instead of unleashing the maximum sentence of 14 years and or 330 currency points, she sentenced the accused to a fine of sh4.8m.
“Given that he has refunded the money in question and even added more, shows that the convict is remorseful and I am inclined to sentence him to sh4.8m or an alternative of one year imprisonment,” she said.
It should be recalled that Japian 62, was among the eight public service officials who were charged in 2013 with causing Government a financial loss of more than sh165b in connection with the creation of 2,605 ghost pensioners and their eventual payment.
The seven include Jimmy Lwamafa, Permanent Secretary, Obey, Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa, Director Research and Development, Stephen Lwanga, Accounts Assistant and Peter Ssajjabi, Secretary East African Community Beneficiaries Association.
Others are Ishaka Sentongo, Assistant Manager Operations and Rahma Nakigozi Mugeere, the compliance officer, Cairo bank.
In April this year, the Anti - corruption Court Chief Magistrate, dismissed the case for lack of prosecution, only for the DPP to institute new charges in relation to the pension scam against Lwamafa, Obey and Kunsa, three months later.
They are currently facing trial on ten charges relating to the sh88b pension fund paid out to third parties instead of the true beneficiaries.
Ex-PS admits stealing pensioners’ money