Patrick Odele denies claims that he embezzled money from the organization to enrich himself.
KAMPALA - A former finance manager of African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) accused of embezzling sh1.5b started his defense by denying embezzling the money.
Patrick Odele denied claims that he embezzled money from the organization to enrich himself.
He faulted the audit report that he amassed wealth by embezzling money meant for running the organisation.
To bolster his defence, he presented bank statements from dfcu Bank and Equity Bank to show that he borrowed money which he later invested in real estates.
Odele told Justice Margaret Tibulya of the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala that prior to joining ACHEST, he had worked for several international organisations and was able to save money.
He was charged with 103 different offences in which more than a billion Ugandan shillings was stolen from the organisation.
He has been on remand in Luzira Prison since March24, 2013 after court declined to grant him bail over charges of embezzlement, forgery and uttering false document.
Prosecution led by senior state attorney Josephine Namatovu from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said Odele between May 2009 and August 2011 at Bank of Baroda being employed by ACHEST as finance manager received money and never remitted Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to Uganda Revenue Authority which he had access to by virtue of his employment.
Odele is also alleged to have stolen money which prosecution said he fraudulently withdrew from ACHEST's account in Bank of Baroda and failed to remit as National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as required.
Prosecution alleges that Odele with intent to fraud, forged several cheques claiming to have been signed by Prof. Francis Omaswa authorising the withdrawal.
However, Prof. Omaswa, the executive director of ACHEST, who testified as the first prosecution witness, denied authorising such cheques.
The suspect also accused of uttering fake cheques to Bank of Baroda purporting that it was authorised by Prof Omaswa and withdrew money.
Prosecution said Odele withdrew the cash amounting over sh1,527,940,933 on different dates and gave the impression that the money had been remitted to URA and NSSF, but investigations later revealed that the money withdrawn between May 2009 and August 2011 was not remitted.
He denied the charges.
ACHEST is a civil society organization based in Uganda that was created by African leaders in health and development. It advocates for the use of evidence to strengthen the capacity of health.