Three MPs, Laywer remanded over theft of Shs3.4b meant for cooperatives

Three MPs, Michael Mawanda, Ignatius Mudimi Wamakuyu, Paul Akamba and lawyer Julius Kirya Taitankonko in the dock at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala on June 21, 2024. PHOTO/ISAAC KASAMANI

The Anti Corruption Court in Kololo has remanded to Luzira Prison three Members of parliament and a city lawyer for allegedly diverting Shs3.4 billion meant for war loss compensation by the government to Buyaka Growers Cooperative Society for their personal use.

The legislators who include Busiki County MP, Paul Akamba, Igara East MP and Head of Disciplinary in Gen Muhoozi’s PLU (Patriotic League of Uganda), Mr Mawanda Micheal Maranga and Ignatius Mudimi Wamakuyu of Elgon County in Bulambuli District were Friday, together with Lawyer Kirya Julius of Kirya Company Advocates plus others still at large charged with diversion of funds and conspiracy to defraud.

The Chief Magistrate, Ms Joan Aciro who listened to the charge sheet presented by State Prosecution remanded the group to Luzira until July 9, 2024, as the state conducts further inquiries.

On Wednesday, Police conducted a search at MP Mawanda’s home in Kololo and recovered a host of items after the legislator was arrested on Wednesday evening and detained at Nateete Police division in Kampala.

The Charges

Police said they are investigating corruption, theft and conspiracy to defraud. Hon Mudimi Wamakuyu, the former deputy chairperson of Parliament’s Budget Committee, is accused of conspiring with the state and numerous legislators to approve Shs 164 billion for compensation and subsequently benefiting from the same fund.

Testimonies from Buyaka Growers’ Cooperative Society implicated Kirya Co. & Advocates, which was recommended by Leonard Kavunduria, a senior Ministry of Trade official. The law firm allegedly paid large sums to various individuals, including MP Ignatius Mudimi Nyasio Wamakuyu, who supposedly received Shs 1,050,000,000.

The funds were sent between the Financial Years 2011/2012 and 2022/2023.

Mawanda and Mudimi are the fourth and fifth MPs to be arrested on charges related to embezzlement and mismanagement of taxpayer money, with a list still expected to grow as far as 30 in the renewed fight against corruption by the NRM government.

Last week, Lwengo Woman MP Cissy Namujju, Busiki County MP Paul Akamba and Bunyole East MP Yusuf Mutembuli were charged and remanded to prison over corruption-related charges.

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