The trial of the former Public Service officials in the Shs 88bn fraud case kicked off yesterday with the first witness pinning the ministry’s former top officials.
The first witness in the trial, Henry Mutegeki a principal auditor from the Auditor General’s office, faulted former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Jimmy Lwamafa, former principal accountant Christopher Obey and former Director Research and Development, Stephen Kunsa Kiwanuka for the loss of Shs 88bn of pension money paid out as social security contributions to NSSF.
Mutegeki told the Anti-Corruption Court presided over by Justice Lawrence Gidudu that money in question ended up being paid to ‘ghost’ recipients given that this anomaly happened around the same period that the Shs 165bn was paid to ‘ghost’ pensioners.
Mutegeki also told court that Lwamafa and Obey were responsible for authorizing these payments.
The witness further told court that Lwamafa in a letter to the then Secretary to Treasury, Chris Kassami acknowledged an error in the budgeting of Shs 44bn in the financial year 2010/11 as NSSF contribution.
He was however shocked that the money was again deducted in 2011/12 financial year.
Unlike workers in the private sector, civil servants don’t make social security contributions.
The defense team of Nsubuga Mubiru, Evans Ochieng and John Isabirye could not cross examine the witness because they needed more time to internalize the evidence.
Subsequently, the judge adjourned the matter to Tuesday next week.
The suspects were further remanded to Luzira prison where they have been for the past two months.
According to the charge sheet, the suspects face eight counts of various corruption related charges ranging from causing financial loss, abuse of office, false accounting to conspiracy to defraud government. They deny the charges.