OPM staff convicted as Otafiire sweats over pension scam



Anti-corruption court in Kampala has convicted an official in the Office of the Prime Minister for embezzling Shs 34.6m meant for PRDP programmes.

Justice Margaret Tibulya convicted Nakiwuge Rachael Muleke the National Coordinator for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Office of the Prime Minister, cancelled her bail and remanded her to Luzira prison.

She was facing 12 counts including embezzlement, false accounting, and forgery and uttering false documents.

According to evidence presented to court, Nakiwuge between 2010 and 2011 embezzled Shs 34.698.000 meant for various activities in her department, and furnished false receipts plus accountability with an intention to defraud her employer OPM.

Evidence showed that the receipts and allowance sheets for funds Nakiwuge claimed to have paid to various officers, institutions and companies were disowned and others denied ever having received the said allowances or signed for them.

She returns to court on Wednesday for sentencing.

MPs superglue on Otafiire on pension scam

In a parallel but equally intriguing graft case, MPs sitting on the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigating the Shs 165bn pension scam have rejected a request by Justice minister, Kahinda Otafiire, to be excused from appearing before them to explain his role in the corruption scandal.

Last Thursday, Gen Otafiire sent deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana, to represent him but the MPs led by their chairperson, Ms Alice Alaso (Serere Woman), kicked him out of the committee and insisted that “Otafiire must appear in person to explain his letters”.

“We want the minister himself to appear here (PAC) to explain the signatures on the documents we have,” Daily Monitor quotes Alaso as saying.

She insisted: “It’s only Gen Otafiire who can tell us whether it’s his signature or not. We insist that the minister appears in person and this is our decision.”

The evidence before PAC shows that the minister wrote two letters to ministry of Public Service, which the MPs said, were later used by lawyers to receive more than Shs 15bn using forged documents.

Officials from ministry of Public Service (former permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa, and former principal accountant Christopher Obey), however, told PAC that they based their decision to pay lawyer Bob Kasongo on letters from Gen Otafiire.

Appearing before PAC, the interdicted commissioner for pensions in Public Service, Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa, tabled two letters- one dated September 29, 2011 addressed to Ministry of Finance and another dated October 13, 2011, addressed to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service.

Monitor further reports that the committee vice chairperson, Paul Mwiru, told the committee that Gen Otafiire had sent a messenger to PAC, requesting the committee keeps him out of the pension scam but his colleagues insisted he should appear in person.


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