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Three police officers attached to Wandegeya Police Station are under detention and a former operative of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence is wanted over kidnapping a dentist and conning him of his money.

Dr Keneth Majoku, a dentist at Mulago hospital, was kidnapped on December 20 in Mulago and lost a total of Shs5.4m to his captors. He told Sunday Monitor on Wednesday that he was kidnapped from Mulago Staff Road after being called by a police officer attached to Mulago hospital Police Post to help him treat his patient.
“I did not suspect anything, we kept communicating on phone until I reached the Mulago Paramedical School, where I found three men in a car and one of them beckoned me. When I reached the vehicle, I asked for the patient to see him,” Dr Majoku narrates.

However, instead of showing the doctor the patient, another man came from across the road and pushed him into the silver grey Toyota Premio.
“After pushing me into the car, they took my wallet, Shs2.5m and $400 (about Shs1.4m) and my phone,” Dr Majoku says. That was the start of an ordeal that lasted more than five hours.
“I asked the officer who called me what the problem was and they instead drove me to Wandegeya Police Station where the grilling started,” he says.

Dr Majoku says at Wandegeya Police Station, the officers told him he was facing officers from “Inter Security Agency”.
“They asked me whether I knew Martin Kenyi and his sons. They said Martin Kenyi was a rebel collaborator in South Sudan to whom I was supplying drugs,” he says as his eyes well up.
Dr Majoku’s captors also told him that he had bought “the rebel collaborators” 80 acres of land in Bweyale in Kiryandongo District and two tractors.

At Wandegeya Police Station
Inside Wandegeya Police Station, the three policemen, Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police (D/ASP) Francis Odongo, Detective Constable Medald Ninsima and Detective Constable William Basoga, now under arrest, claimed that Dr Majoku’s name was on the list of persons wanted by the South Sudan government.
“They told me I would not see my family again. All this time, I was just crying and telling them that I was innocent, but they could not listen. They would leave me in the room alone and go in the corridors to confer among themselves before returning,” Dr Majoku narrates.
According to them, Dr Majoku’s case was high profile and that they would detain him and hand him over to the South Sudan Government unless he gave them Shs7m.

Dr Majoku said when the trio had walked out of the room, he took his phone from the table and called his cousin, Dr Daniel Drichi, who works with Unicef in South Sudan’s Western Equatorial province but was in Uganda at the time.

“I told him I was being held at Wandegeya (and) he should come. My cousin came and demanded to know why they were holding me,” Dr Majoku says.
They told Dr Drichi that his relative was supplying drugs to a one Martin Kenyi and that he had accumulated money and bought land and tractors for his sons.
“The trio did not allow me to speak to Dr Majoku, who at the time, was in tears and he negotiated with the policemen before giving them Shs400,000. We negotiated until they agreed that I pay them an extra Shs1.1m. I called my wife and she brought the money,” Dr Drichi says.

Dr Drichi says before his wife would bring the money, his cousin’s captors received a phone call and they went to a guest house in Wandegeya, taking Dr Majoku with them. At the guest house, they arrested two men who they found drinking.
“They ransacked them and took their phones before walking out of the place; leaving a policeman to guard Dr Majoku and me,” Dr Drichi said.
The policemen later returned and when they were given the Shs1.1m, they walked away, leaving their ‘suspect’, Dr Majoku, behind.

Reporting the case

The conman. After being released, the two doctors later established that Alfred Guma, one of the captors, had long been dismissed from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and was a conman in town. Dr Majoku later reported the case to the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) of the police in Naguru.
Officers arrested. Mr Good Mwesigwa, who was this week removed from the position of commandant of PSU after just weeks in charge, confirmed that three police officers had been arrested over the matter and the former CMI operative, Guma is wanted over the same matter. Mr Mwesigwa said the policemen will be charged with robbery, kidnap and demanding a ransom.

1 week 20 hours ago

One of the six police officers being court-martialed for kidnapping two Rwandan political asylum-seekers in 2013 has dashed to the civil division of the High court challenging General Court Martial proceedings.

Nickson Agasirwe Karuhanga says all charges against him and other officers are “concoctions” aimed at persecuting, and not prosecuting him.    

In an application filed on January 5, 2018, Agasirwe wants the civil court to declare that the UPDF unit disciplinary committee and General Court Martial (GCM) have no jurisdiction to try him of the offences disclosed in last year’s charge sheet.

 

Besides kidnap, Karuhanga faces a raft of charges including unlawful possession of arms, ammunition or equipment ordinarily being the monopoly of defence forces.

Nickson Agasirwe Karuhanga ( in black jacket) arriving at the Court Martial

To the contrary,   in the application, in which the attorney general is the only respondent, Agasirwe contends that the charge sheet is defective since it doesn’t disclose the fact that he is a member of police entitled to a firearm and other defense artillery.

The particulars of the offence, according to Agasirwe, don’t further disclose that he possessed a firearm certificate for his armory issued by the chief licensing officer.

“That if the said particulars had been disclosed by the military tribunal, I would not fall within the jurisdiction of the General Court Martial for trial,” Agasirwe says in his affidavit in support of the application.

“That of all intents and purposes, there is no nexus between the charges that have been preferred against me and I cannot be tried for having been in unlawful possession of a firearm.”

At the military court, Agasirwe, a senior superintendent of police and a former commander of police special operations, is facing trial with the commandant of police’s Professional Standards Unit, Joel Aguma, and Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada (Crime Intelligence).

Others are Sgt Abel Tumukunde (Flying Squad), Faisal Katende (Flying Squad), Amon Kwarisima, Rene Rutagungira, a Rwandese national, and Bahati Mugenga Irunga, a Congolese national.

They were all charged in October last year. It is alleged that on September 25, 2013, the accused persons kidnapped Lieutenant Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, in Kamengo along Kampala-Masaka road and forcefully conveyed him to Rwanda.  

Mutabazi had fled for his life from Kigali to seek political asylum in Uganda with a United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) looking out for him. Mutabazi was sentenced to life in prison.

The group was also charged with the kidnap of Jackson Kalemera, Mutabazi’s brother, on the same day. Similarly, Kalemera was also dispatched to Rwandan authorities against his wishes.

However, through Joel Olweny and Company Advocates, Agasirwe says even his co-accused cannot similarly be tried of the said offences because they are also police officers.  

From the foregoing, Agasirwe says, it is clear for court to see that the military tribunal is biased, their charges are misconceived and there is no nexus between the charge sheet and my circumstances.

He pleads with High court to issue a permanent injunction stopping the trial arguing that the he is not being accorded a fair hearing by the Court Martial whose members are acting as the “judge and jury”.

“That the misconception by the military tribunal partly formed the basis of their bias and if not checked by this honorable court [civil division of the High Court] shall greatly result in irreparable injury and occasion a miscarriage of justice as my fundamentally protected rights guaranteed under the constitution shall be greatly infringed upon for which no amounts in terms damages can adequately compensate,” Karuhanga says.  

The decision to go to the civil court seems to have been inspired by the fact that the Court Martial has twice differed Agasirwe’s bail ruling. At the same time, prosecutors at the same court continue to prefer fresh charges against Agasirwe “without justification but with impunity and malice geared at keeping me incarcerated.”

Last week, Agasirwe’s co-accused Aguma filed a bail application before the criminal division of the High court after the military court had thrown out his bail application last year.
dkiyonga@observer.ug

1 week 5 days ago

Uganda lost more than Shs 10 billion in royalties from undeclared gold trade last year.

According to the auditor general's report for 2016 – 2017 financial year, only 16kgs in gold exports were authorised while Uganda Revenue Authority records showed that more than 8,000kgs were actually exported.

Gold mining in Karamoja

Gold mining in Karamoja

Mining regulations require that minerals obtained under a mineral right or under a mineral dealer’s license may only be exported under an export permit granted by the Commissioner at the Directorate of Geological Surveys and Mines (DGSM) in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral development. However, according to the auditor general's report, figures obtained from URA revealed a number of anomalies.

The DGSM issued Gold export permits for only 16.281 kilograms compared to records from URA, which indicated that 8,691 kilograms of gold valued at USD 339.09 million were exported from Uganda in the financial year 2016/17,” the report says.

The country, the report concludes, lost revenue of between USD 3.39m to USD 16.95m (Shs 12 billion to Shs 60 billion) in royalties from the undeclared gold imports and exports, depending on the rates applicable: 1 percent for imported and 5 percent for locally mined gold.

Another anomaly noted was that the gold exports of an unidentified exporter were supported by export permits from the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry instead of DGSM, which was contrary to the Mining Act, 2003. Moreover, there was no evidence of payment of royalties on the exported gold.

Although, according to the report, DGSM admitted that that the exporter did not make declaration of gold exports to them, claiming that it had a tax waiver from the Ministry of Finance, there was no evidence of such a tax waiver.

The report notes that not only the government but also landowners are missing out on mining royalties. Land owners were not paid the prescribed 3% of the royalties, amounting to more than Shs 300 million last year.

The practice denies the landowners the revenues arising from use of their land, which potentially can affect the relationship between mineral rights holders and landowners,” the report concludes.

The auditor general advised relevant authorities to investigate the discrepancies in order to recover the lost royalties.

namuloki16@gmail.com

1 week 5 days ago
A former Hong Kong government official has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribing Uganda's Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, in exchange for oil rights for a Chinese energy company.

The official, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, 68, and a former foreign minister of Senegal, Cheikh Gadio, were arrested in November last year and charged with money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

 
They appeared again before U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest in a Manhattan court and pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday January 8.
Sam Kutesa who allegedly received the $500,000 bribe Kutesa reportedly received a bribe of $500,000 (about Shs 1.8 billion) from Ho to seal a scheme that was reportedly hatched in the halls of the United Nations in New York, when he served as the president of the U.N. General Assembly.  

Ho reportedly wanted Kutesa to connect the said energy company to the president of Uganda Yoweri Museveni and thereby assist the company to obtain lucrative opportunities in Uganda's energy sector and in the banking industry. It turns out the 'investors' had their eyes on Crane bank, before its takeover by the central bank.

Ho is also accused of bribing President Idriss Déby of Chad with $2 million "in exchange for securing business advantages" for the conglomerate in its effort to obtain oil rights in the country without facing international competition.

 
Gadio the conduit for the offer was compensated with $400,000 wired through New York, United States prosecutors told court on Monday.

He pleaded not guilty to all eight charges read for him at a hearing in Federal District court on Monday. If convicted, Ho could face more than a decade in prison.

Federal prosecutor Douglas S. Zolkind, told court that there is voluminous evidence to be shared with Ho's lawyers. The evidence includes thousands of documents consisting of emails and attachments from more than 10 accounts that prosecutors received warrants to search. 

He also estimated that multiple thousands of pages of bank and financial and wire records relating to multiple different entities would need to be shared, along with about seven boxes of paper documents and information from 11 phones, four computers, a camera and other equipment seized during a search of the energy organization's offices in Virginia.

It also includes data from two cellphones, an iPad and multiple USB drives seized from Ho; records from three iPhones, a Samsung phone, and multiple USB drives and SIM cards seized from Gadio.

The volume of information is so great, Judge Forrest said, that "my guess is that it will be a year" before the start of the trial.

At a hearing on Dec 1, 2017, Ho was denied bail. A federal prosecutor, Daniel C. Richenthal, argued that "if he were to make it back to China, or for that matter, Uganda or Chad, the countries in which he committed the bribery offenses, we can never get him back."

However, Ho's lawyer, argued that to flee would be a disgrace, and said, it would destroy everything he's worked for and it would destroy his international reputation.

The lawyers on Friday asked Judge Forrest to allow Ho to live under house arrest, with electronic monitoring, on a $10 million bond, with an agreement that he waive extradition, to minimize the chance he might flee.

The next pre-trial hearing set for February 2, 2018.

1 week 5 days ago

KAMPALA- Makerere University has said about 300 students who did not clear tuition fees will not graduate at the university’s 68th graduation next week.
In a public notice through the media, the university has asked parents, guardians and sponsors to verify financial positions of their students with the university bursar before January 16, the first day of the four-day graduation.
The names of the affected students were published in the press yesterday.

“Those who have not satisfied all the requirements (both academic and financial) will not graduate,” Ms Ritah Namisango, the university spokesperson, said yesterday.
According to the university’s Academic Registrar, Mr Alfred Masikye Namoah, each graduand is expected to nominate two guests who will accompany them to the graduation venue at Freedom Square.

Graduation fees
Mr Namoah said each under graduant will pay Shs110,000 for graduation fees, postgraduates Shs100,000, PhDs Shs120,000 and $130 (about Shs480,000) for international students.
The university has also published items that are prohibited at the graduation venue. They include weapons/firearms, cameras, cells/batteries, chemicals, big hand bags, alcohol, canned food, drinks and bottled water.

After last year’s graduation, the university administration came under intense public reproach when one of its senior officials allegedly engaged a private company illegally to keep custody of the guests’ mobile phones and other electronic gadgets at the graduation venue.
The company reportedly fleeced parents and graduands under the guise of securing their mobile phones and other gadgets by charging them Shs3, 000 for each item for custody.
The academic registrar also announced that all graduation gowns will be acquired from the University Senate Building at Shs98,000.

“The gown is exclusive to Makerere University. You are advised to strictly purchase the gown from the designated place,” the notice reads in part.
At last year’s graduation, the university failed to provide enough gowns forcing graduates to purchase gowns outside at exorbitant prices.

1 week 5 days ago

At least 40,000 government jobs in 19 selected entities are vacant even as unemployment and poor service delivery persist in the country.
The 2017 Auditor General’s (AG) review of the approved staffing structures of seven ministries and 12 statutory enterprises revealed that the Uganda Police Force has a staffing shortage of 28,791, followed by Uganda Prison Services with 6,324 unfilled jobs, while the Judiciary has 2,864 unfilled slots.

Others are Agriculture (327), Justice (177), Kampala Capital City Authority which has a staffing gap of 189, the Department of Ethics and Integrity (69), Health Service Commission (32), while the Finance ministry has 20 unfilled slots.

The AG also noted that whereas the planned number of staff to be recruited at district, municipality and sub-county levels was 5,000, by close of the financial year under review (2016/17), the number of positions filled was only 2,760, leaving a staffing gap of 2,240.
The current extension-to-farmer ratio under the single spine agriculture extension system is 1:1800, which is substantially lower than the recommended ration of 1:500.

Out of 118 health facilities inspected by AG staff, 98 (representing 83 per cent), were experiencing high rates of understaffing ranging from 80 per cent in Kalisizo Hospital in Rakai District to 9 per cent in Iganga Hospital. And in 38 districts and municipal councils, the understaffing included critical positions in medicine management.

For instance, the AG found that selected 12 commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises had nearly 500 vacant positions, including key positions such as commissioners, assistant commissioners, principal officers and managers. This, according to the AG, could have been caused by inadequate funds and budget ceiling.
Some of the affected institutions are Diary Development Authority, Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority and Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
The details are contained in the AG report handed over to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, on Friday.

‘Expanding government’
The Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, however, blamed the government’s failure to fill the vacancies on the rising population and “the choice to expand government” through the creation of districts, counties and municipalities.
Mr Muhakanizi told Sunday Monitor at the weekend that “it is not a question of blame game, but a question of prioritisation and pressures of expanding government”.

“Blaming Finance for these things is wrong, we are not the policymakers, we are not the ones who made a choice to expand government,” Mr Muhakanizi said.
“The government priorities over the past few years have been to deal with infrastructure challenges, put money into wealth creation initiatives and finance free education. This is the reason we have not been able to fill the vacancies you are talking about,” he added.

Explaining how the government intends to fix the service delivery gaps without the necessary human resource, Mr Muhakanizi said: “I have recommended to policymakers to stop expanding government for at least five years to enable us fill the vacant positions and fix all the gaps in the service delivery chain.”
Understaffing, according to the AG, Mr John Muwanga, “overstretches the available staff beyond their capacity, creates job-related stress to the fewer staff and negatively affects the level of public service delivery to the community.”

Speaking to Sunday Monitor, Mr Muwanga requested Parliament and Cabinet to pay attention to what he called “a persistent problem to service delivery” and further explained that “Inadequate staffing affects the timely implementation of entity activities as it may adversely impact on the entities in the achievement of its strategic objectives.”
Among the districts, the AG found a problem in at least 83 of them, with acute understaffing levels ranging from 7 per cent in Mpigi to 77 per cent in Kapchorwa and Mubende Districts.

The AG report, however, comes barely three years after this newspaper investigated this problem and found that 32,746 public service job slots in the various government institutions were vacant.
Although not all entities have ghosts on their payrolls, in 2015 Mr Muhakanizi told this newspaper that he was reluctant to provide funds to fill the vacant positions in the critical areas of service delivery, because of “a dirty system” that needs cleaning.
Mr Muhakanizi also accused agencies, who he did not name, of mismanaging funds for recruitment on account of ghosts and corruption on the payroll.

Other findings in 2017 Auditor General’s report

The 2017 Auditor General’s report to Parliament has also revealed widespread misuse of public funds through unchecked weak financial control systems; failure to absorb billions of shillings meant for various activities in the financial year under review.
Weak financial controls have resulted in accumulation of unsupported domestic arrears to a tune of Shs27.7b.

There was no documentary evidence to confirm the delivery of goods or services in a number of cases the AG observed. This amount is contained in the Consolidated Financial Statements comprising of payables of Shs2.2 trillion and a pension liability of Shs623,4b.

In another query, all the 14 municipal councils (MCs) in the country failed to absorb their Municipal Development Grants (MDG) and Capacity Building Grants to a tune of Shs125.6b, and this comprised grants received during the year amounting to Shs100.6b and unspent balances brought forward from the prior year amounting to Shs25.2b.
Notable among the poor performing MCs were Mbarara, Hoima, Fort Portal and Jinja, which failed to even utilise funds brought forward from the previous year.

The various districts, however, attributed the under-absorption of funds to delays in the procurement process, delayed execution of works by some contractors and delayed submission of certificates by contractors after completion of works. Parliament is expected to investigate this issue with a view of punishing the culprits.

The AG also noted that unsettled court awards and compensations amounts to Shs676.8b. The bill has accumulated over the last five financial years from Shs54b in 2011/2012 to Shs676.82b in 2016/17. The accrued interest stands at Shs168b worth of wasteful expenditure, and in certain cases, the interest had more than doubled the principal amounts.

In 76 per cent of districts and municipal councils, the AG found that Shs4.5b meant for procurement of medicines and other heath related activities was not properly accounted for. Unaccounted for medicines and Health supplies, according to the AG, may lead to rampant medicine stock-outs, which hampers service delivery. There were also cases of expired medicines and health supplies in 40 hospitals across the country.
And from a sample of 20 ministries and agencies, the AG noted that six entities sent a total of Shs274.5b worth of public funds to unnamed commercial banks outside the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS).

Under the circumstances, he warns that such transactions are susceptible to abuse through diversion of public funds.
The AG also noted that although pension and gratuity was decentralised with arrears amounting to Shs199b which were disaggregated by votes and transferred to the Finance ministry, to date only Shs7.4b of Shs199b had been paid to 1,238 pensioners from 26 votes.

2 weeks 20 hours ago

Retired Archbishop of Uganda, His Grace Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, who, today morning breathed his last will be laid to rest at the Anglican Martyrs Shrine next week.

Nkoyoyo, 82, died this morning at Kampala hospital in Kololo. According to a statement issued by Rev Canon Alison Barfoot, Church of Uganda communications officer, Nkoyoyo succumbed to pneumonia. He was admitted at Kampala hospital on Monday January 1, 2018 and died this morning, ending a battle against cancer that lasted more than a year.

RIP: Dr Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo (C) at Namugongo Martyrs Shrine where he will be buried next week

Speaking to journalists at Kampala hospital this afternoon, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali communicated that the Church together with the deceased family have agreed that he will be buried on Tuesday, January 9 at the Anglican Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo. He will be the first Archbishop to be buried at the site.

Nkoyoyo has been battling cancer of the oesophagus and by the time of his death was receiving treatment at Kampala hospital. Previously, Nkoyoyo had been treated at a London hospital but the huge hospital bills forced the family to appeal to well-wishers, the government, the church and the kingdom of Buganda for monetary contributions to clear the outstanding bill.

In the middle of last year, he returned to the country in what his handlers and himself, were to later tell the public at Namirembe Cathedral during a thanksgiving service that he was feeling much better.

Archbishop NkoyoyoArchbishop Nkoyoyo

Nkoyoyo led the church for 10 years until he handed over to Henry Luke Orombi who also handed over to the current Archbishop Stanley Ntagali. Nkoyoyo was born in the current Mityana district in 1938 to Erisa Nkoyoyo Wamala and Naome Nakintu who have both since passed.

The burial ceremony will be preceded by a requiem mass at St. Paul's Cathedral Namirembe  and a vigil at his home in Nakabago, Mukono. According to Ntagali, they are thankful to God for Nkoyoyo's faithful ministry and that they are to celebrate him as a faithful man of God.
 
"I thank God for the life of Archbishop Nkoyoyo. He was a passionate evangelist and a visionary leader. He was a man full of hope for the Lord's work and he never gave up. He has now been promoted to glory. Well done, good and faithful servant." reads part of the COU statement.

Retired Archbishop Nkoyoyo served as Archbishop of the Church of Uganda from 1995 to 2004. During his leadership, he pioneered many visionary initiatives, including upgrading the Bishop Tucker Theological College in Mukono into Uganda Christian University, the first university in Uganda to be privately chartered.

The university has now grown from the original 120 students to more than 12,000 students on the main campus, at two constituent colleges, and a number of study centres around the country.

He leaves a legacy of several orphanages and primary schools, including ones that care for the blind and other physical disabilities started early in his ministry together with his wife, Ruth.

In retirement, Nkoyoyo was able to combine his entrepreneurial gifts and ministry passions into such projects as building the Rest Gardens Retreat Centre in Bweyogerere, establishing the Words of Hope Radio Ministry, and leading the fundraising and construction efforts for the Uganda Martyrs Museum in Namugongo.

In addition to all the projects and ministries he initiated, Archbishop Nkoyoyo was, at heart, an evangelist. He was a tireless preacher, taking every opportunity to give his testimony and calling people to repentance and into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Archbishop Nkoyoyo was born in 1938 as one of 25 children to Erisa Wamala Nkoyoyo, a sub-county chief in Busimbi, Mityana.

bakerbatte@observer.ug

2 weeks 20 hours ago

The auditor general (AG) has found that government lost Shs 40.8 billion last financial year through breach of tax laws by government ministries, departments and agencies.

Rebecca Kadaga receives the Auditor General's report from AG John Muwanga. PHOTO: Josephine Namuloki

Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga receives the Auditor General's report from AG John Muwanga. PHOTO: Josephine Namuloki

Handing over his report for 2016-17 to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga yesterday, John Muwanga noted that government entities either failed to pay value added tax (VAT) or paid to non-existent service providers, and that no deductions of pay as you earn (PAYE) were made, leading to a huge financial loss to government.

According to the Value Added Tax Act, VAT should be paid by the ministry or department for goods and services, but the auditor general's report indicates that Shs37.6b worth of VAT was not paid while Shs 87million in VAT was paid [as VAT refund] to non-registered service providers.

The Income Tax Act, 1997 (as amended) also requires entities to deduct withholding tax and PAYE and to remit the withheld taxes within 15 days of the month following the one in which deductions were made. But Shs 1.12b in withholding tax was not remitted and Shs 261m was lost in withholding tax non-deductions.

The report indicates that that practice not only denies the government revenue for funding the national budget but also attracts penalties and fines, which in turn constrain the cash flows of the affected entities.

Failure to settle the taxes may also adversely affect future project financing in the case of donor funded projects,” the report indicates.

namuloki16@gmail.com

2 weeks 20 hours ago

Concerned youth have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to have minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa impeached over what they term as questionable conduct in Uganda and at international level.

Led by former Makerere University guild president David Bala Bwiruka, lawyers; Simon Peter Esomu, Henry Byansi and Martin Twomo among others argued that despite his censorship as Finance state minister over corruption in 1999, Kutesa has continued to engage in scandalous acts even as Foreign Affairs minister, tainting the country’s image.

“Hon. Kutesa was once formally censored by our parliament for corruption and has since been involved in many other scandals dating back to 1999, when he deviated public funds in connection with Uganda Airlines, the national carrier which eventually collapsed. He has been accused of deviating state funds when we hosted the Chogm [Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting] in 2007 where $150m still remains unaccounted for,” the petitioners told Kadaga.

Some of the youth who petitioned Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to have minister Sam Kuteesa impeached

Details of a criminal bribery case being prosecuted in the United States indicate that Kutesa allegedly received a $500,000 bribe to help a Chinese firm obtain business advantages in the energy and banking sectors including potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank while serving as president of the United Nations General Assembly.

The petitioners also based on various local and international media reports in November last year where it was reported that the Justice Department of the United States of America had implicated Kutesa for successfully creating a fake charity organization with a ploy to engage in bribery and money laundering activities.

The petitioners say that contrary to principles established in the Constitution, Leadership Code of Conduct, values and aspirations of Ugandans, Kutesa conducted himself in a manner indicative of corruption tendencies and detrimental to the public good, welfare and good governance of the country.

“Shs 1.8 billion bribe was transmitted through New York to an account designated by Kutesa in Uganda. That bribe was paid on or about May 6, 2016 after Kutesa finished his term as president of the UN General Assembly,” Bala said.

“We are further concerned that through the impugned conduct, Kutesa has maligned the image of Uganda hence putting its future on cold ice. We are concerned that Uganda is now viewed as a country of greedy and egocentric people with no political will to fight corruption,” he added.

The petitioners have demanded that Kadaga, sets up a committee or refers the matter to an appropriate committee for investigations as well as moving a motion to impeach Kutesa as a Foreign Affairs minister for his dishonorable conduct.
The group also threatened to petition court should parliament not take action against Kutesa.

“We demand that this matter be taken seriously lest we shall be constrained to refer the matter to the courts of law to compel parliament to perform its constitutional oversight role over the executive,” Bala said.

Kadaga however promised to get back to the petitioners on the way forward, noting that Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga tabled the same matter before the House with similar demands.

Although Karuhanga mid last month raised a matter of national importance asking that parliament through the speaker summons Kutesa to explain to the country the role he played in the bribery case to help a Chinese energy company get unlicensed oil blocks in Uganda, Kadaga instead told the MPs to refer that issue to Financial Intelligence Authority.

"Lodge a complaint as a concerned citizen. If the offence was committed here, I would have no problem. But I have no control over another jurisdiction,' Kadaga said then.

namuloki16@gmail.com

2 weeks 20 hours ago

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has gone to the Constitutional court to challenge the continued under-funding of the Judiciary, one of the arms of the government.

The gist of ULS’s case in which the Attorney General is the respondent, is that, both the legislature and the executive, the other organs of the state, neglected their constitutional role of implementing the Judiciary’s constitutional and self-accounting status through enactment of appropriate laws thus contravening Articles 128 (1), (2), (3), 150 (1), 79 (1) and 155 (2) & (3) of the Constitution.  

The petition comes at the time when the national budget frame work paper 2017/18 currently before parliament indicated that the 18 institutions that form the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) which include the judiciary, have been allocated Shs 1.119 trillion, translating to 5.1 per cent of the total national budget.

In comparison to the previous FY 2016/17, JLOS had a 5.4 per cent allocation of the total budget, though the actual money was slightly lower than that allocated in this year’s budget.

Uganda Law Society (R) president Francis Gimara

According ULS, the functions of the Judiciary which are well laid out under Chapter VIII of the Constitution, are to administer justice, exercising judicial power derived from the people in accordance with the principles stipulated under Article 126 (2) of the Constitution, which among others include not delaying justice.

In particular, the independence of the Judiciary, ULS says is guaranteed by the Constitution to the extent that Article 128 (1) stipulates that in the exercise of judicial power, the courts shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority.

The lack of adequate funding according to ULS makes it impossible to expedite disposal of cases and has led to initiatives such as trial by sessions which negate the fundamental rights of a free and fair trial under Article 28 of the Constitution.

Through Victoria Advocates and legal consultants, ULS challenges sections 9 (1), (2), (5) & 11 (3) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act of 2015.

The law society contends that the above sections are in contravention and inconsistent with Article 155 (2) & (3) of the Constitution by granting the secretary to the treasury powers to issue directives and instructions to all accounting officers including self-accounting institutions such as the Judiciary.

ULS further argues that the annual practice, by which the secretary of the judiciary submits the budget estimates of the Judiciary, to the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is inconsistent with Article 155 (2) of the Constitution.  

“The Act of the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in approving the budgetary framework of the Judiciary contravenes Articles 128 (1) & 155 (2) of the Constitution, the petition partly reads.

“The act of consistently allocating grossly inadequate budgetary allocations or resources to the Judiciary, rendering it to be unable to effectively execute its constitutional mandate contravenes Article 128 (3) of the Constitution.”

In the petition which has been supported by an affidavit sworn by ULS president Francis Gimara, the society contends that subjecting of the already inadequate resources availed to the Judiciary to continuous budget cuts, the Judiciary is unable to effectively dispense the administration of justice in a fair and timely manner through speedy trials.

This, ULS says, is worsening the problem of case backlog which contravenes Articles 126 (2) (b) & 28 (1) of the Constitution.

Subsequently, ULS wants the court to issue permanent injunction restraining the secretary to the treasury from issuing budget circulars or any other related orders or requirements to the secretary to the Judiciary.

“An order requiring the secretary to the Judiciary to henceforth submit the policy statements of the Judiciary directly to parliament,” ULS says.

The society wants court to issue an order requiring the respondent [Attorney General] to establish formal mechanisms for submission of the budget to the president within 14 days.

dkiyonga@observer.ug

2 weeks 3 days ago

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