KAMPALA – The Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo has dropped all the corruption charges against the Equal Opportunities Commission chairperson, Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi. She communicated the decision in a January 18th, 2021 letter to the High Court Judge Margaret Tibulya.
The letter was tendered in court by State Attorney Gloria Inzikuru when the case came up for mention on Wednesday morning. Inzikuru told court that the DPP had lost interest in the three charges against Ntambi and asked the court to discontinue the matter.
As a result, Justice Margaret Tibulya discharged the accused person. Ntambi who has been out on bail has been facing one charge of corruption and two others of conspiracy to defraud. She has been facing the charges together with her nine assistants at the Equal Opportunities Commission for conspiring to defraud the government more than Shillings 35 million.
The assistants are Agnes Enid Kamahoro, Moses Mugabe, Mpitsi Mujuni, Ronnie Kwesiga, Manasseh Kwihangana, Harriet Byangire, Evans Jjemba, Sarah Nassanga and Sunday Nicholas Olwor.
The prosecution had alleged that Ntambi conspired with her co-accused to steal the money which they paid to themselves as per diem for editing and drafting the Equal Opportunities Commission HIV/AIDS workplace policy yet none of them was entitled to it.
According to the prosecution, the per diem in question was requisitioned by Kamahoro, the senior personal secretary Equal Opportunities Commission and later approved irregularly by Mujuni, the secretary to the Commission which caused a financial loss to the government.
The prosecution also contends that the money had been earmarked for sensitization on equity and rights issues in lower local governments in Karamoja region. Court records show that the accused committed the offences between January and December 2018. The withdrawal of the charges against Ntambi now leaves her subordinates on the trial.
The nine have since been committed to the High Court for trial. They are expected to plead to the charges on March 9, 2021, following the amendment of the charge sheet. All the accused persons are out on bail that was issued by the Chief Magistrates Court before committal.
Sylvia Namubiru, the Executive Director of Legal Aid Service Providers Network- LASPNET who stood as a surety for Ntambi has condemned the decision of DPP to charge someone before gathering evidence against them. She says although they are happy that Ntambi is now a free woman without any criminal record, her name was spoilt when she was arraigned in court to face charges without any the relevant evidence against her.
Article 120 of the Constitution gives the DPP powers to institute criminal proceedings against any person or authority in any court other than a Court Martial and to discontinue them at any stage before judgment.