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50 Million lost in Fraud by officials in Luweero

Luweero district has lost over Shillings 50 million to fraud, the Auditor General’s report has revealed. According to the report, the district incurred a financial loss of Shillings 30,152,650 in the 2014/2015 financial and another Shillings 19,962,950 in the past financial to embezzlement.

The report notes that efforts to recover the money from the implicated officers have failed, which may force the district to write off the money as bad debts. However, the report fails short of mentioning the implicated officers. It blames the financial loss on lack of supervision and weak internal controls in the district.

However, URN has established that the money was stolen by civil servants through double fuel payments, forging vouchers and unexplained expenditures. In his recommendations, the Auditor General, John F.S Muwanga advises Luweero Chief Administrative Officer, Eustace Gakwandi to ensure the money is recovered with the help of police. Gakwandi has confirmed that the money indeed got lost.

He observes that two officers including Godfrey Ssegawa Mulegeya, the Luweero Chief Finance Officer and William Mbazira, the accounts Assistant in the Works and Technical Services department were interdicted in connection to the said monies. Gakwandi declined to divulge details on the matter, saying it is still under police investigations. He however admitted there was weakness in collaborating with all stakeholders to fight corruption in the district.

Gakwandi added that the district had failed to recover Shillings 19 .9 million, which was embezzled by others some former officers who have either, died, retired, resigned or abandoned their work stations. The Auditor General’s report has aroused strong criticism towards government’s commitment to fight corruption. Absolom Bwanika Bbaale, a local politician in Luweero, says there is little political will both in the district and central government to fight corruption, which has fueled the vice.

He also expresses disappointment that even with very clear evidence, police and courts take long to prosecute and convict the suspects. Samuel Ssewanyana, a resident of Kavule zone in Luweero town wants government to operationalize that provides for the confiscation of the property of officers found guilty of corruption as a deterrent measure.

Last year, parliament approved the Anti-Corruption Amendment Bill of 2013 that was fronted by John Ssimbwa, the Makindye East MP. It provides for the mandatory confiscation of property of persons convicted of corruption.  World Bank estimates show that Uganda loses up to Shillings 500 billion annually through corruption.