Akankwasa Acquitted of Fraud Charges

1119 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Anti-corruption court has acquitted the former National Forestry Authority NFA Executive Director Damien Akankwasa of charges in connection with owning property that was not commensurate with his salary.

The Anti-corruption court has acquitted the former National Forestry Authority (NFA) Executive Director Damien Akankwasa of charges in connection with owning property that was not commensurate with his salary.
   
Akankwasa had been accused of being in possession of a guest house along St Balikudembe Road in Naguru, an upscale suburb of Kampala, valued at Shillings 580 million, legally referred to as 'illicit enrichment'.
  
The Inspector General of Government - IGG had claimed that this property was not disproportionate to Akankwasa's past and current known source of income and assets.
  
But while acquitting the former forestry boss, Chief Magistrate Agnes Alum held that despite the fact that Akankwasa was not earning a hefty salary, he was also at the same time as a civil servant, getting allowances that were much more than his salary but did not go through his bank accounts.
  
The magistrate in her verdict stated that the construction of the guest house that had landed Akankwasa in trouble, started in 2004 and not in 2009 as alleged by the IGG who was prosecuting the case.
  
The magistrate added that by the time Akankwasa rose through the ranks to become the executive director, he had already started the construction of the guest house. Alum noted that it was this legitimate origin of his wealth that made court to believe he did not corruptly obtain it.
  
The reading of this judgment had been slated for August 2 but it was pushed to today as it was not ready then.
  
In January last year the same court convicted and sentenced Akankwasa to two years imprisonment for abuse of office when he was found guilty of illegally disposing of 1,000 Eucalyptus poles from Oruha forest in Mwenge, Kyenjojo district. Court was told then that the poles were disposed of at a half price of shillings 10,000 instead of shillings 20,000 despite protests by the director of plantations. He has since appealed the conviction.
  
Akankwasa came to the limelight in 2009 when his wife, Juliet Katusiime Akankwasa, shocked the nation by stealing her husband's money amounting to 900 million shillings that was hidden in their matrimonial bedroom.
  
Katusiime, upon undergoing full trial at City Hall Court, was sentenced to three years in jail.