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Budget Corruption: Remanded MPs committed to High Court for trial

L to R: Bunyole East MP, Yusuf Mutembuli and Lwengo Woman MP Cissy Namujju appearing before the court in Kampala. (Photo/NewVision)

Kampala, (UG):- The Anti Corruption Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro has committed the three Members of Parliament (MPs) accused of corruption in a multi-billion budget scandal to the High Court for trial after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said police had concluded their investigations into the case.

The trio, identified as Bunyole East MP, Yusuf Mutembuli, Paul Akamba (Busiki), and Cissy Namujju (Lwengo Woman MP) were last week denied bail twice and remanded to Luzira following the arrest earlier in the week.

However, only two of the trio appeared in court on Monday, with Mr Akamba who was violently arrested by gunmen in civilian clothes a no-show at court amidst questions on his whereabouts from his lawyers.

The Chief State Attorney, Mr Jonathan Muwaganya tendered in court committal papers showing the summary of the case, which the magistrate based on to send the accused to the High Court for trial. Muwaganya was assisted by Senior State Attorneys Gertrude Apio and Pamela Orogot.

The state attorneys also said they were not aware Akamba had been re-arrested when tasked with producing him in court. They, however, promised to work with Akamba’s lawyer Richard Rugambwa to establish his whereabouts.

The Charges

The accused are battling charges of corruption, contrary to Section 2 (e) and 26 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009.  The offence of corruption attracts a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, on conviction. They denied the offence.

It is alleged that the legislators, on May 13, 2024, at Hotel Africana in Kampala, solicited from Mariam Wangadya, the chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), an undue advantage of 20% of the anticipated enhanced budget of the human rights body for the financial year 2024/2025.

They allegedly asserted that they were able to exert undue influence over the decision-making of the budget committee of Parliament to increase the budget of UHRC. Sources revealed that the 2024/2025 UHRC proposed budget was sh58b.

A 20% commission on this amount would be sh11.6b. According to the budget draft estimates, a total of sh20.5b was allocated to UHRC.

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