1 February 2013

Uganda: Pension Scam - PS Lwamafa Granted Bail

The interdicted permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Jimmy Lwamafa and eight others have been granted bail.

Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Sarah Langa Siu released all the nine suspects on bail after they presented 31 substantial sureties. The sureties, who committed themselves to stand for the accused, will be forced to pay sh620b if the accused persons abscond their trial.

The suspects were on Tuesday charged with several offences in which they are alleged to have created ghost pensioners where sh165b was lost.

They include Lwamafa, Christopher Obey, the ministry's principal accountant; Japians David Oloka, senior accounts assistant in the ministry and Stephen Kunsa Kiwanuka, the ministry's director for research and development.

The others are Peter Ssajjabi, the secretary for the East African Community Beneficiaries Association and two employees of Cairo International Bank. These are the bank's assistant manager for operations, Ishaka Ssentongo and the bank's compliance officer, Mugeere Rahmah Nakigozi.

One of the accused, Francis Lubega, the ministry's information system analyst who was not in court on Tuesday, yesterday presented himself to court and was also charged with abuse of office, embezzlement and conspiracy to defraud. He denied the charges.

All the accused were granted bail and each of them was ordered to pay sh50m cash and their sureties are to execute a non-cash bond of sh20b. The court further ordered the accused to deposit their passports in court.

At about 5:30pm, only Ssajjabi, Oloka, Lwanga, Lubega and Obey had paid up the sh50m cash bail, while the rest, including Lwamafa, were still being held by the prison authority, appearing to be destined back to Luzira Prison.

Principal State Attorney Jane Frances Abodo and State Attorney Lillian Omara had opposed the bail applications expressing fear that the accused will interfere with the ongoing investigations.

However, the efence lawyers said the accused will neither interfere with investigations nor abscond if granted bail.

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