Two local government officials from Dokolo district have been charged for defrauding government of sh15m meant for Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP)II.
George William Omuge, 60, the former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Dokolo District Local Government (DDLG) and John Odada, the Chief Finance Officer appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court on Friday and were charged with embezzlement, abuse of office and causing financial loss.
They were charged under section 11, 19 and 20 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009. The offence of embezzlement and causing financial loss attracts a maximum sentence of 14- years-imprisonment on conviction, while abuse of office is at seven years.
The accused denied the charges before Grade One Magistrate, Sarah Namusobya Mutebi.
“Have you understood the charges read out to you? Do you accept or deny it,” the magistrate asked all the accused who denied?
However, Inspector General of Government (IGG) prosecutor, Rogers Kinobe informed court that investigations into the matter were complete and requested for an adjournment to have the case fixed for hearing.
Defence lawyer Vincent Ishepai told court that he has instructions from the accused to apply for bail.
The lawyer asked court to release on bail retired civil servant,Omuge on grounds of ill-health and advanced age. Omuge is suffering from diabetes, hypertension and prostrate abnormalities.
Ishepai also told court that Omuge has a fixed place of abode in Soroti district. “Omuge can easily be traced whenever required by court because he has a fixed place of abode.”
The lawyer also presented to court three sureties to secure bail for Omuge. They are brother, Micheal Oumo Otoyu, Gender Ministry Social Protection Director, James Ebitu and Dr.Daniel Ecweru.
Senior accounts officer, Christine Oluka, wife, Betty Apio and brother Robert Opira also stood surety for Odada.
The magistrate found the sureties substantial and released each of the accused on a non-cash bail of sh6m. Their sureties were bonded sh10m not cash.
Prosecution alleges that Omuge in December, 2016 while performing his duties as CAO stole sh15m meant for PRDP II.
It is also alleged that Odada in the same period without any document such as requisition and or accountability, approved and effected payment of sh15m meant for the same programme to Omuge, knowingly or having reason to believe that the act would cause financial loss to government.
Prosecution further alleges that the duo in the same period approved and withdrew sh15m meant for the programme from DFCU Bank-Dokolo Branch, without any supporting documents and accountabilities, an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of their employer (government).
The PRDP II was launched by the government in 2007 as part of efforts to consolidate peace, security and lay a foundation for recovery and development in Northern Uganda.
The case has been adjourned to March 1, 2019.