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Nakasongola official jailed for seven years over ghost workers

By Michael Odeng

Added 31st October 2019 02:24 PM

The judgement follows an appeal by the IGG, challenging the decision of the trial magistrate to acquit the official.

Nakasongola official jailed for seven years over ghost workers

The judgement follows an appeal by the IGG, challenging the decision of the trial magistrate to acquit the official.

The Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court has quashed the acquittal of Nakasongola district human resource officer, who had sought to be reinstated in his position.

Chief Magistrate, Pamela Lamunu had acquitted Joshua Kyenkya of charges of causing financial loss of sh81.8m, abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Lamunu had ruled that prosecution has not adduced evidence showing that Kyenkya included nonexistent employees in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) of Nakasongola District Local Government, leading to loss of sh81.9m to the Government.  

However, Justice Margaret Tibulya said the trial magistrate had wrongly acquitted Kyenkya because there is sufficient evidence to support charges leveled against him.

"The learned trial chief magistrate erred when she concluded that the IPPS and Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) are standalone systems, whereas not and that she had wrongly acquitted Kyenkya," she noted.

Subsequently, the judge sentenced Kyenkya to seven years in Prison, in default to payment of sh9m fine and maintained the acquittal of Hosea Galimaka, the District accountant.

The court also ordered Kyenkya to pay sh81.9m to the local government but he has since appealed against the judgement.

The judgement follows an appeal by the IGG, challenging the decision of the trial magistrate to acquit the duo.

According to the judge, Kyenkya entered details of non-existent employees in the IPPS of Nakasongola District Local Government.

"The effect of his action was that non-existing persons were paid money in the form of salary arrears. He certainly knew that this would happen, and so I find that the prosecution proved its complains in the count of causing financial loss," the judge ruled.

According to justice Tibulya, Kyenkya was supposed to enter genuine staff names onto the IPPS, but he instead entered false names in the system in abuse of the authority of his office.

The judge said there is no evidence showing that Kyenkya conspired with Galimaka to commit the offences.

"I, therefore, acquit each of them of the offence of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to commit a felony," she ruled.

Prosecution led by Philip Munaaba had accused Galimaka of entering fraudulent names in the IFMS as the accountant. 

According to prosecution, the accounts department gets the names of those whose particulars have been entered in the IPPS, so that they are entered into IFMS for salary payment.

Nevertheless, the judge said the fact that Galimaka could have entered those names into IFMS, is not evidence that he participated in entering them into IPPS.

"There is no evidence that Galimaka had anything to do with the IPPS. The charges relate to the creation of names in the IPPS and not the IFMS. I find no evidence to support the charge against Galimaka," she noted.

The judge noted that IPPS and IFMS are not stand alone as argued by the trial magistrate since they feed into each other in the salary payment process.

"I, therefore, agree with the IGG that the trial magistrate erred in law and fact when she observed and held that the evidence adduced by prosecution against the accused was at variances with particulars of offences on the charge sheet," she noted.

Background

In March 2015, the payroll for Nakasongola district bore names of 37 non-existent persons, which inflated the district budget. Investigations revealed out of 37 new entries, a person who used IP number and user ID of Galimaka had created 32 and as a result, sh81.9m was paid out to non-existent workers. 

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