By Our Reporter
Five former bosses of Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation, (UPPC) have been charged and arraigned before the Anti- Corruption Court, Kololo, Kampala.
The five who appeared before the Anti-corruption court on Monday, 13th March, 2023 on charges of causing financial loss and other related conspiracies are; Prof. Wasswa Tom Davis, former Managing Director, Kasekende Mujjuzi Arstraco, former Finance Manager, Kigonya Robert, former Sales Executive Manager, Ahimbisibwe John Baptist, Accountant, and Ayebare Catherine, Assistant Accountant.
In a press statement dated 13th March, 2023, SCP Enanga Fred, the Police Spokesperson says the five committed the offences during the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years.
Enanga says, the group on behalf of UPPC entered into 3 contracts with Electoral Commission for; printing and publishing materials for polling stations for purposes of display of the National Register for the 2020/21 General Elections, Nominating Candidates for Parliamentary and Local Government Elections; and Local Government Council Elections.
“As a result, the Electoral Commission transferred to the UPPC an estimated total sum of funds totalling Ugx.15,153,030,709/= (Fifteen billion one hundred fifty-three million, thirty thousand, seven hundred nine shillings), out of which Ugx 2,261,003,034/= was allegedly embezzled,” says Enanga.
The Shs2,261,003,034 was fraudulently withdrawn as commission for the contract and yet Electoral Commission is a government entity which was not supposed to be charged a commission.
How The Shs2.2billion Was Embezzled
Under clause 5.9.4 of the Sales and Marketing Policy of UPPC categorised jobs/contracts from Ministries, Government Departments and Professional Bodies (under which EC falls), as direct procurement are not commissionable and as such, did not require the services of a Commission Agent/Business Executive and did not attract a charge of 18%.
However, the five altered the clause in an alleged Board resolution that they claim was passed on the 19.12.2019, and introduced an 18% commission of all jobs/contracts from Ministries, Departments and Professional Bodies. This resolution was neither filed nor registered with the Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB).
The board, however, went on and appointed a one Kigonya Robert, a former Sales Executive Manager, as the business executive for Electoral Commission.
“The suspects, caused for the fraudulent transfer of funds from the UPPC Company Bank Accounts, on the 8.07.2020, 21.05.2021 and 28.06.2021 respectively, into his private account which they quickly withdrew and converted to their private use,” reads Enanga’s statement in part.
He says the casefile was submitted to the Office of the Director Public Prosecutions and charges of causing financial loss C/S 20(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009 (as Amended), dealing with suspect property C/S 21 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009 (as Amended) and conspiracy to defraud C/S 309 of the Penal Code Act, against 8 suspects. However, only 5, were arrested and charged. Efforts are in place to trace and arrest the other 3 remaining suspects and produce them in court.