Police Drops Embezzlement Charges Against Four Luweero Officials

1945 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
In 2012, Luweero town councilors lead by Chairperson LC3 Charles Ssebyala petitioned Police in Luweero to investigate and prosecute the officers in Anti-Corruption Court for embezzling funds in town council. The councillors accused town clerk Mugagga of causing financial loss of six million shillings.

Police in Luweero have declined to prosecute four officials in Luweero town council for embezzlement and abuse of office charges sparking off protests that it is incompetent.
 
The officials include Luweero town clerk Muluuta Mugagga, town engineer Godfrey Butegaine, former finance secretary Paul Mukungu and Joseph Katende a tax officer.
 
In 2012, Luweero town councilors lead by Chairperson LC3 Charles Ssebyala petitioned Police in Luweero to investigate and prosecute the officers in Anti-Corruption Court for embezzling funds in town council.
 
The councillors accused town clerk Mugagga of causing financial loss of six million shillings. The petition accused Mugagga of allocating himself fake transport allowances for 18 months and paying a non existent driver.
 
The councillors also accused Finance secretary Paul Mukungu of conniving with the town clerk to fraudulently obtain 400,000 shillings without approval from the town council.
 
They also demanded that town engineer Butegaine be investigated for misappropriation funds meant for roads leading to shoddy works in the town.
 
However on 21th June 2013, the Luweero District Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department   (CIID) boss Topher  Gimei wrote to Luweero LC 3 Chairperson Charles Ssebyala informing him the case file has closed over lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute the officials.
 
Gimei explained the evidence presented by councillors and chairperson was submitted to Resident state Attorney Richard Birivumbuka for legal advice but he said they couldn’t pin the officials on embezzlement charges.
 
He says due to lack of evidence, police has decided not to press any charges against the officials.
 
However this has not gone well with Councillors, residents and LC 3 Chairperson Charles Ssebyala who have accused police of incompetence and corruption.
 
Charles Ssebyala LC 3 Chairperson of Luweero town council says that there is overwhelming evidence the officers forged receipts and paid themselves in breach of local government act and financial regulations.
 
He added that Auditor General Report also released in November 2012 report highlights accounting queries where over 60 million shillings had been mismanaged.
 
Ssebyala wondered which evidence the police needed to prosecute the officials.
 
Ssebyala says that they hope to get a fairer hearing from other competent bodies that include District Public Accounts Committee and Inspector General of Government who have picked interest in the matter and are investigating same complaints.
 
Sunday Musasizi, a resident in Lumu Zone in Luweero town council, says that he is not surprised police and government has no political will to fight corruption. Musasizi says that police didn’t go the extra mile to investigate the allegations but instead connived with accused officials. 
 
But the Luweero town clerk Muluuta Mugagga and former finance secretary Paul Mukungu say they were being witch hunted by the LC 3 Chairperson and councilors. Muluuta says all the allegations were forged by LC 3 chairperson as ploy to sack him but he is happy he has been found innocent.
 
According to World Bank reports, Uganda is said to lose up to 500 billion shillings annually through corruption but it is still static in fighting it. Recently over 50 billion shillings were siphoned out in office of prime minister by the workers and only one person has been sentenced to Luzira Maximum Prison over the case.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.