Uganda: EC Official Pleads Guilty to Stealing Election Cash

The Electoral Commission (EC) registrar for Bukwo District Wednesday pleaded guilty to embezzling Shs31.5m that was meant to facilitate the last presidential and parliamentary elections.

Denis Budali appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Pamela Lumunu and pleaded guilty to two charges of embezzlement and false accounting.

He was convicted on his own plea of guilty under the bargaining plea programme with the Inspectorate of Government prior to his court appearance.

"You are hereby convicted of your own plea of guilty in count one and two," held Ms Lumunu.

Earlier, a representative of the IGG, Mr Thomas Okoth, informed court that the convict had agreed to refund all the Shs31.5m that he had embezzled and that he had already paid onto the asset and recovery bank account of the IGG in Bank of Uganda.

When asked whether he voluntarily agreed to plead to the charges thereby waving his rights of being innocent until proven guilty by court, Budali replied: "yes I did,"

The chief magistrate went ahead and sentenced Budali to a fine of Shs3m on each charge and in default, serve one year in jail.

By press time yesterday, Budali was in court cells. He committed the aforementioned crimes when he was the EC registrar for Kumi District.

The case

According to the indictment, the IGG in count one of embezzlement, stated that between January and March 2011 at Stanbic Bank, Kumi Branch, Budali stole Shs31.5m meant for facilitating the 2011 presidential and parliamentary general elections, which money he had access by virtue of his employment.

In count two of false accounting, the ombudsman had stated that in April 2011, while in charge and management of Shs13.5m that was meant to facilitate the last general elections, he made fictitious payments and knowingly made returns of the same amount to the EC.

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