Crime

Pension scam: Court finds Lwamafa, Obey, Kunsa guilty of stealing Shs88b

christopher-obey-kiwanuka-kunsa-and-jimmy-lwamafa-pension-scam-suspects

Former senior employees of the ministry of public Service; Jimmy Lwamafa, the ex-permanent secretary guilty; Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa, the ex-director research and development and Christopher Obey, the ex-principal accountant have been found guilty of causing government loss of Shs88.2 billion.

The money of which was for pensioners.

The presiding judge, Lawrence Gidudu of the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala in his ruling on  Friday said the plan by the three suspects and others to steal the money was hatched in the public service, smoothened in the finance ministry and executed in Cairo bank where the money was finally paid out to ghost pensioners.

The judge’s ruling comes weeks after court assessors advised that the three suspects are innocent and should be let free.

In September this year, Vincent Ferrer and Stanley Kurung advised court that, in their opinion as assessors, the prosecution did not prove that the suspects caused government a financial loss.

Mr Ferrer read out the joint opinion in which they argued that evidence presented showed that the money in question was paid to commercial banks, in particular Cairo Bank. He wondered why the banks were never investigated.

He said that if the money was lost, then the fraud originated from the banks and that the three suspects were never linked to it.

The courts assessors observed that the head of the CID, Grace Akullo, who unearthed the alleged fraud of Shs165 billion in the public service ministry, was never called to testify.

“In the ministry’s work plans, the item NSSF was not there and this confusion must have been introduced by Mr Josses Tegyeza onto the payment system as he had the mandate to ensure that there were no entry errors into the payment system…” Mr Ferrer said.

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