Uganda: EC Registrar Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Shs 32m, Fined Shs 3 Million

The Anti-Corruption court in Kampala has convicted Dennis Budali the Electoral Commission registrar for Bukwo district for embezzlement Shs 31.5 million.

He was on Wednesday convicted by the chief magistrate Pamela Lamunu after his own plea of guilty. State prosecutor Thomas Okoth from the Inspectorate of Government presented documents to court indicting that Budali had entered into plea bargaining with the prosecution.

Plea bargaining is a criminal justice system where the accused person opts to plead guilty to the charges against them such that in return, the offences are dropped or he is given a lighter sentence.

In the documents, Budali pleads guilty to two offences including false accounting and embezzlement of funds. He admitted that between January and March 2011 while employed as the Bukwo district Electoral Commission registrar, at Stanbic bank Kumi branch in Kumi district, he stole Shs 31.5 million.

The money was reportedly meant for facilitating the 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections but he accessed it by the virtue of his office that he had in Public Service. On the false accounting charges, Budali confessed that during April, 2011 he made fake payments before making false returns of the money in question to the secretary of the commission.

He later told court that he was able to refund the Shs 31.5 million to the Asset Recovery Account of the Inspectorate of Government which is in the Bank of Uganda. The magistrate asked him several times if he was under duress when he chose to enter plea bargaining or he did it willingly. In reply, Budali admitted that no one forced him and he did it willingly.

He later signed on the documents that were adduced in court confirming that he pleads guilty to all the charges as per the plea bargaining session he went through. The court directed Budai to pay a fine of Shs 3 million for all counts and the fine will run concurrently.

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