By Sania Babirye
Two Lira district officials have been remanded to Luzira prison after they were charged with embezzling district funds amounting to over 9 million shillings.
The anti corruption court grade one magistrate Abert Asiimwe remanded the town clerk 47 year old Asey Abirebe and principle treasurer 46 year old Awiyo Patrick after they denied the charges.
Although the magistrate granted a 9 million cash bail to each of them, they were however remanded to Luzira prison until the 9th of April to allow both the state and defense agree on their identification documents.
There sureties were also bonded a non cash of 50 million shillings.
Prosecution states that the two with others still at large in the Financial year 2017 at Lira town council embezzled nine million one hundred fifty eighty thousand as compensation paid to Kompe Dennis traffic flow and road maintenance well as not.
The accused were arrested by the newly created special anti corruption unit under state house led by Lt.col Edith Nakalema by President Museveni in December 2018.
While creating it, President Museveni explained that the special unit will supplement of the already existing anti corruption state organs in the fight against corruption and has since its formulation seen many civil servants arrested and are on trial on corruption charges.
Other public servants who are being tried due to the unit include
The Mbarara municipal council town clerk Lwanga Edward together with with the district principle treasurer Kerere Richard Mutungi.
On the 8th of this month, the two were arrested by the unit and charged in the same court with corruption over funds meant for the district roads.
These appeared before chief magistrate Pamela Lamunu and charged with false accounting by a public officer.
They however pleaded not guilty and released on a 10 million cash bail.
Prosecutions states that the two with others still at large between the 14th day of December 2018 and 15th day of January 2019 at Mbarara municipal council in Mbarara district released to the Mbarara municipal council and charged with the receipt custody and management with the funds released to the Municipality by Uganda Road Fund knowingly released a false statement of accountability for 412,249311 shillings and 281296595 shillings money ment for Roads works in the Municipality.
However, the unit has met resistance from those who are being tried on its account with some public servants suing both the unit and its head for usurping the powers of the IGG.
The unit was dragged to court by the recent arrested five senior Mbarara district officials led by one of the suspects Felix Cuthbert Esoku the Chief Administrative Officer of Mbarara district.
Esoku is currently being tried by the anti-Corruption on charges of unlawful allocation of Government land after Lt. Nakalema and the unit arrested him and three other district officials .
His other accomplices who are facing the same charges include the District Staff Surveyor Himbisa Emmanuel, Nayebare Godlive a Senior Land Management Officer and the Human Resource Officer Karuhanga Rosalia
These are accusing Lt .Nakalema’s committee of over stepping its mandate which is merely receiving corruption related complaints and forwarding them to the concerned organs such as the IGG that is vested with powers to handle corruption related cases .
The plaintiffs are further challenging that the actions of the Anti-corruption unit and Lt . Nakalema of taking on corruption cases which are already a subject of investigation by the IGG and ordering police to arrest and detain suspects for more than the mandatory 48hrs without producing them in court for formal charging.
They further claim that their actions are in breaches of the rules of natural justice as the Unit conducts investigations , carries out arrests , prosecutes suspects and becomes judges in their own case.
These are now seeking court to order
Lt.Nakalema to compensate them each with 300 million Uganda shillings for violating their alleged rights since col.Nakalema allegedly had no authority to storm their offices and arrest them or later causing their charging before the Anti- corruption court .
These were arrested on the 22nd of February 2019 and charged on the 28th.
They however, claim that they are illegally being charged because as public servants they are not accountable to the State House Anti-corruption unit.
The anti- corruption court charged Four Mbarara District Local Government Senior Staff with abuse of office and remanded three out of the four to Luzira prison
The four suspects appeared before Grade One Magistrate Albert Asiimwe and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Esoku is accused of processing and causing the leasing of Plot 5B at Mbarara Municipal Council, to a one Charles Ngabirano knowing that the said land did not belong to Mbarara District Local Government.
He is further accused jointly with Himbisa and Nayebare of having subdivided and received payments for development of several plots on Katunzi road and Kamukuzi road in Mbarara Municipality, from individuals employed in the District without authorization from the Uganda Land Commission.
They allegedly committed the offense between the 23rd of February 2016 and 10th of January of 2018 while in performance of their respective duties.
Meanwhile Karuhanga and also a Clerk to Council, is accused of having altered minutes of Mbarara Municipal Council meeting held on 24th/May/2018, with intent to deceive.
The accussed also applied for bail but court granted only Nayebare a three million cash bail and ordered her to deposit her passport with court because she is breast feeding mother.