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Former PS Mutabwire, co-accused set for corruption trial

Former local government permanent secretary Patrick Mutabwire is accused of causing government financial loss. File photo.

KAMPALA– Five top local government officials accused of causing government financial loss amounting to Shs1.1 billion were yesterday (Wednesday) committed to the Anti-Corruption Court.

They include former permanent secretary Patrick Mutabwire and co-accused Alfred Wasolo, principal accountant; Ali Atabua, senior accountant; Wilberforce Turyahabwa, principal systems analyst and Mr Jackson Wamwa, senior systems analyst, all from the local government ministry.

Mutabwire is accused of failure to put in place an effective financial management system, an omission that allegedly led to a financial loss of over Shs1 b to government.

According to senior state attorney Thomas Okoth from office of the Inspector General of Government, prosecution will produce evidence to prove that Mr Turyahabwa requisitioned for Shs1.1 billion to carry out various activities, which funds were paid on his personal account in Centenary Bank branch in Ntinda.

The suspects are charged with abuse of office, causing financial loss, diversion of public resources, false accounting and embezzlement.
The IGG states in the summary of the case that in 2014/15, the Local Government ministry approved a budget of Shs34b but only received Shs30b.

The IGG went on to state that out of the funds released to the ministry, Shs12b representing 40% of its total expenditure was for procurement of vehicles for chairpersons of district local governments among other budgeted items.

The IGG further states that although the money was not spent as budgeted, the accounts were presented in a way that reflected that the amounts had been spent on the planned items and that out of Shs12b, Shs1.1b was mischarged or diverted to Mr Turyahabwa by Mr Mutabwire.

“The said diverted funds were either falsely accounted for or not accounted for at all. Mr Mutabwire while accounting officer in the local government ministry, approved mischarge of funds released to the ministry in breach of Section 21 and 22 of the Public Finance and Management Act,” the indictment reads in part.

The prosecution contends that Mr Wasolo and Mr Atabua failed to provide technical advice and guidance on financial management, verification and charging funds on different codes prior to authorization of payment.

“Prosecution will adduce evidence to show that A2 (Mr Wasolo) and A3 (Mr Atabua) neglected to perform their role as technical staff in accounts and participated in effecting the diversion of Shs1.1 b for the benefit of A4 (Turyahabwa) who did not perform the activities and thereby leading to loss of public resources,” the IGG states.

The IGG, Justice Irene Mulyangonja, says she will adduce witnesses from the Finance ministry, office of the Auditor General, Office of the Accountant General, ministry of local government and various district local governments to prove the case against the accused.

The IGG intends to rely on documentary evidence, including local government budget for financial year 2014/15, ministry of finance payment vouchers, Auditor General’s report on local government and findings of the handwriting expert to prove the corruption charges against the suspects.

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