20 November 2012

Uganda: IGG Speaks Out On Kutesa, Nasasira Acquittal

Uganda may not be able to recover sh14b lost during the 2007 Chogm preparations, but the country made serious achievements in investigating and prosecuting the suspects, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) has said.

In an exclusive interview with New Vision, Justice Irene Mulyagonja said Ugandans and officials in her office learnt lessons from the way the cases were handled.

"It has now become clear to the general public that no one is above the law. Even ministers and senior public officers can be prosecuted where they are suspected to have caused loss to government," Mulyagonja said.

Mulyagonja added that her team drew a number of lessons on how to deal with such sophisticated corruption cases.

Besides, she said government recovered some money which shouldn't have been if the investigations had not been carried out.

Mulyagonja said three hotels including Serena, Imperial Royale and J&M who caused government losses in Chogm compensated for the losses.

"The three hotels were made to issue shares to government which had been envisaged when they received monies from government. This might not have happened hadn't the IGG intervened," she said.

On allegations that her office presents weak evidence against suspects such that they are acquitted, Mulyagonja said they only go to Court after gathering enough evidence.

"We take time to investigate cases to ensure that we have enough evidence. As to whether the evidence is weak or not, it is for the courts to decide and we submit ourselves to their jurisdiction and wise opinions about the results," she said.

About the three Ministers, Sam Kutesa, John Nasasira and Mwesigwa Rukutana who were recently acquitted of the Chogm case last week, Mulyagonja said her office was studying the judgement before making a final decision on the next step to take.

"As an institution, we presented all the evidence that we had which we felt was good enough for all the cases," she added. "But prosecution is not the best option for every incidence of corruption because the standard of proof is high - beyond reasonable doubt."

Out of the five suspects prosecuted over the mismanagement of Chogm funds, only one engineer in the Ministry of Works was convicted. The engineer was convicted of mismanaging the procurement of streetlights, the IGG said.

The IGG said in the near future, her office will implement other strategies of dealing with wrong doers such as recovering funds lost to corruption.

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