5 February 2013

Uganda: Pension Suspects Carry Loads of Bail Money to Court

In his book, "Betrayal in the City" Kenyan Francis Imbuga wrote about a character whose problem was not money but how to spend it.

This in essence is what happened to the interdicted Permanent Secretary of the ministry of Public Service Jimmy Lwamafa and his seven co-accused in the pension scam. Lwamafa and his co-accused are facing charges of abuse of office, embezzlement, neglect of duty, theft and causing financial loss worth Shs 165.2bn. They were each granted cash bail of Shs 50m after eight of them spent two days in Luzira prison.

Lwamafa's other co-accused include Christopher Obeyi, director of Research and Development; David Oloka Principal Accountant; Francis Lubega, Information System Analyst and Steven Lwanga, senior accountant, all in the ministry of Public Service. Others are Peter Sajjabbi the East African Community Beneficiaries Associations Secretary, Ishaka Ssentongo, assistant manager of operations, Cairo International bank and Rahama Nakigozi who was lastly charged yesterday with three counts.

Most people, who are granted cash bail, are usually seen making several frantic calls to raise the money. Not this group. Shortly before the bail application was granted, their relatives were heard asking their lawyers how much cash was needed at court and one lawyer told them that they should have between Shs 50m and Shs 100m, to which they responded that that was not a problem.

However, the two staffers of Cairo International bank, who are also Lwamafa's co-accused, had no hope of raising the money and were subsequently sent back to prison. Each surety executed a Shs 20bn non-cash bond. In addition, grade one magistrate Sara Langa ordered all the accused's passports to be deposited with the police before adjourning the case to March 1 for mention.

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