KAMPALA – At least twenty people serving in different local government institutions countrywide are being probed for alleged involvement in corruption and illegal land dealings.
The suspects, among them a Member of Parliament for Rwampara County in Mbarara District, Charles Ngabirano and technical officials at districts were arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema.
Mr Ngabirano was quizzed by the Police on accusations of conspiracy to defraud before he was released on Police bond, according to the CID Spokesman Vincent Ssekatte.
Accused over illegal acquisition of the District Veterinary plot in Mbarara Municipality, Mr Ngabirano admitted purchasing two plots on the disputed land but insisted that he bought a lease from a one Grace Muheirwe.
Established in December 2018 and headed by President Museveni’s former aide, the unit was described as a missing link in the government’s efforts to weed out corruption which has over the years stalled service delivery and development.
It is a supplementary organ to the already existing bodies which include among others the Inspectorate of government and the Police Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID).
Nineteen of the accused persons have already been arraigned before the Kololo based Anti-Corruption court over charges of abuse of office, causing financial loss to government, corruption, diversion of public funds and other fraud related charges which they have since denied before being released on bail pending trial.
If convicted by court, the accused persons face 15 years imprisonment as the maximum penalty provided for under the Anti-Corruption Act of 2009.
In Mbarara, the officials are accused of initiating plans to parcel out plots and houses on Kamukuzi Kill to themselves, and that the allocation of plots was done without the approval of the District Council and that the act was being done under the guise of developing the Satellite City.
Other accusations include the plan to sell illegally the District Works Yard and Kakyeeka Stadium as well as the misappropriation of more than Shs360 million by Mbarara District officials. The funds were meant for the construction of Koranorya Road in Kakiika Division.
The suspects including Chief Administrative officer Felix Cuthbert Esoku, Godlive Nayebare (Mbarara District Senior Land management officer), Emmanuel Himbisa (District Surveyor) and Human Resource Officer and Clerk to the district council, Ms Rosalia Karuhanga.
They denied charges of alleged with abuse of office describing the move as persecution since the same complaint is being handled by the Inspectorate of Government.
Two other officials from Mbarara, Edward Lwanga the Town Clerk of Mbarara Municipal Council and principal treasurer Mr Kerere Richard Mutungi were charged over alleged fraud in regard to presenting false accountability for more than Shs690 million.
From Waksio, six officials from Wakiso District lands office were charged over several accusations related to land registration irregularities at the ministry zonal office.
Those charged accused included Registrars of Titles, Nurah Businge and Nicholas Wamboga, Andrew Mwanje (Customer Support/Communications Officer) as well as Records Assistant Ms Monica Katushabe.
They were jointly charged with Data Entry Assistants at Wakiso Land Offices Mr Japhery Bekalaze and Ms Doreen Mpumwire.
From Arua, two senior officials of Arua Municipal Council officials who are accused of abusing their offices in leading to diversion of more than Shs400 million have been granted cash bail of ShsShs35m each.
Mr Jamirlu Kasajja Kairu the former Town Clerk of Arua Municipal Council now serving in Kapchorwa Municipality and Mr Rajab Kamil Erejo (Arua Principal Treasurer) were charged over diversion of more than Shs400 million.
They were charged alleged abuse of office, diversion of public resources and conspiracy to defraud.
The state alleges that during the financial year 2017/2018 at Arua Municipality in Arua Distrct, in abuse of the authority of their respective offices, Mr Kairu and Mr Erejo did an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of their employer when they processed and converted Shs436,477,000 meant for road works to pay individual officers’ allowances.
Other government officials charged for soliciting bribes
Other government officials are three people, among them staff of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and a Court clerk who were for allegedly soliciting bribes.
The two URA staff, Ferdinand Albaker Wamala an accountant and Hassan Miiro, a tax officer both attached to the Jinja office were charged with two counts of corruption.
They were arrested for allegedly receiving a Shs45 million bribe from a businessman to help him dodge taxes worth Shs3 billion.
Ms Sarah Namakula, a data entrant Clerk attached to the Resident State Attorney under the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at Nabweru Chief Magistrates Court was charged for allegedly soliciting a Shs2 million bribe.
Prosecution alleges that between February 19 and 21 at Nabweru in Kawempe Division, Ms Namakula solicited Shs2 million from a one Sumin Nabagereka in exchange for a gratification to process a production warrant for a suspect Rigan Isaac Kafuluma.
By David Sseguya