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Shs 43 Billion ‘Eaten’ By Kawuukumi, Police Bosses In Trouble

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Officials from Uganda Police Force (UPF) are in trouble after they failed to account for Shs 42.9 billion meant for buying specialised vehicles to monitor the 2016 General Election.

The police delegation led by the undersecretary, Mr Rogers Muhairwe, were yesterday appearing before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to answer queries raised by the Auditor General (AG), Mr John Muwanga, for the financial year ending June 2016.

The report also established that whereas Shs 41.76b had been requested by the police, the treasury released Shs 42.93b. The police had planned for a 30 per cent payment for 113 operational vehicles and 40 per cent specialised vehicles to police the 2016 elections under a four-year financing facility with effect from Financial Year 2014/2015.

The AG noted that, “all funds were received but operating vehicles were not procured.” Parliament also tasked the police to explain Shs 1.17b that was received in excess of the budget as well as an inventory of the purchased vehicles, location and log books in vain.”

In a related development, the officials failed to explain how the Force accumulated utility arrears amounting to Shs27.34 billion in the same financial year. In his report, Mr. Muwanga highlighted that “payables increased by a 66 per cent from Shs 16.45b for 2014/2015 to Shs 27.34b for 2015/2016”.

He added that most affected was electricity, with a closing balance of Shs 17.7b.

Masaka Municipality legislator Mathias Mpuuga accused the police of rearing the utility bills as some healthy cow for a certain herdsman somewhere for his milk and wondered why the institution does not resort to solar. In response, the officers said the arrears mainly for electricity were caused by “some form of abuse” by its officers, mainly in the barracks.

As a stopgap measure, Mr Godfrey Bangirana, the Police Director for Engineering and Logistics, said they are currently installing prepaid meters in police facilities to cut the abuse.

The police further failed to justify expenditure of Shs 21.98b spent on training.

The AG indicated that he failed to ascertain whether the money “was appropriately spent and properly unaccounted for. The training needs assessment report is not signed and acknowledged by the IGP whom it was addressed to,” added Mr Muwanga.

Mr. Muhairwe said the training was done after prior assessment and 250 officers were passed in disciplinary court procedure. The committee chairperson, Ms Angeline Osegge, told the accounting officer to prepare to pay back the money unless he produces tangible evidence related to the expenditure.

 

By Remmy Atugonza

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STEALING FROM THE DEAD: Namirembe Cathedral To Take 75% Of Condolence Money Collected, To Give Deceased’s Family Only 25%

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The Church of Uganda has issued new guidelines in which they will take 75% of the money collected as condolences during funeral services.

A communication from Rev. Canon Nelson Kaweesa, the Namirembe Cathedral Secretary, to the Cathedral Dean, Archdeacon, canons, lay leaders and believers, states that the move was agreed upon by a meeting that sat on Friday May 24 2019.

“The council agreed that during memorial services at the Cathedral, there will be collection of condolences and 75% of that money will remain at the Cathedral to cater for items used during the service. Only 25% of the money collected will go to the family of the deceased,” the communication reads in part.

Rev. Canon Kaweesa further states that the condolences will always be collected before the sermon to allow ushers count and declare the amount collected as condolences. The communication further reads that the new guidelines will also be applied on services held at the home of the deceased. In the past, all money collected as condolences was given back to the family of the deceased.

By Doreen Menezer

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CRIME

GUILTY AS CHARGED: You Kidnapped And Killed Her – Court Finally Convicts Pine Car Bond Businessman Sebuufu On Katushabe’s Murder

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It was tears and jubilation as pine car bond businessman Muhammad Sebuufu and seven others were convicted on the murder of businesswoman Donna Betty Katushabe, a former Centenary bank employee. 

“I found out that state has proved beyond reasonable doubt all the ingredients in the three counts of murder, kidnap with intention to murder and armed robbery which were charged against Muhammad Ssebuufu, Phillip Mirambe, Steven Lwanga, Shaban Odutu, Paul Tasingika,  Dameseni Ssentongo, Godfrey Kayinza  and I  convict them,” High Court Judge Flavia Anglin Senoga said. She said that the prosecution team led by senior state prosecutor Michael Ojok  and Winfred Ahimbisibwe placed Sebuufu and his co-accussed on the scene of crime at pine car bond in Kampala where the deceased was tortured from and later died at the entrance of  Kampala central police station.

The late Katushabe’s lawyer Annet Kyomugisha (2nd R)

The judge refuted the alibis which Sebuufu based on to defend himself that on the day Katushabe was tortured, he was at Mwanga 2 court in Mengo not at pine as the state witnesses testified. The judge stated that the convict had malice forethought to murder the deceased because after planning the move to kidnap her from her home in Bwebajja on Entebbe road instead of driving her to Kampala central police station. The soft-spoken judge said that the act of taking Katushabe to pine car bond showed that the suspects wanted to negotiate with her on how to pay the remaining shs9m on the purchased Toyota Premio from pine car bond. 

She based her judgment on the postmortem report which indicated that Katushabe was first tortured before she died. The learned judge wondered why the convicts instead of torturing the deceased didn’t file a civil suit so that their balance is paid through civil courts. She noted that the suspect participated in committing the crime according to the testimony of Peter Tumusiime, a lawyer who was sent to pine to rescue Katushabe from Sebuufu’s hands.

Tumusiime told court that he saw with his necked eye Sebuufu and Odutu undressing and beating up the deceased while squeezing her breasts and private parts. The judge further pointed out the star testimony was from Annet Kyomugisha, a lawyer to Katushabe, who told court that it was Sebuufu who called her on phone and put Katushabe on the loud speaker. Katushabe was crying and begging her lawyer to look for money because her captors had promised to kill her if she did not get the money.

Katushabe’s relatives jubilating

However, the judge put Steven Lwanga, a special hire driver at pine on charges of associating with the convicts who murdered Katushabe because when he was hired to drive Katushabe to police, he drove her back to pine where she was seriously tortured. State prosecutor Michael Ojok asked for an adjournment to prepare his submission on the sentencing because the convict deserves a maximum punishment of death. Sebuufu’s lawyer Evans Ochang told journalists that he is not happy with the judgment and he has to first read the entire judgment before advising his client on the way forward and whether to appeal in the court or not.

Katushabe’s relatives celebrated after the judgment and applauded the judge for standing by the truth adding that Sebuufu bribed all the people who were handling their case since 2015. Robert Muhindo, a brother to Katushabe said that even though Katushabe is dead and they can’t return her life, she will feel very contentedwherever she is. The convicted will know their fate on 1st July 2019.

By Jamil Lutakome

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THIEVES! Bank Of Baroda MD Grilled For Giving Dead Man Loan And Stealing His Family Land, House Alleging That He Defaulted

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Ashwini Kumar, the Managing Director Bank of Baroda and Igara East members of parliament were yesterday grilled for forging a mortgage and trying to steal a Dead man’s estate. 

John Bosco Suuza, the deputy lead counsel of the commission of inquiry into land matters revealed that the commission has testimony from Barbra Atukunda Sseruwo  a widow to late Joseph Marry Sewulo a city businessman that between 1993 and 1993 forged a mortgage transaction and confiscate her 22 acres on land at Nalusuga Wakiso district.

“Mr. Kumar this commission wanted to understand from you how your bank the might bank of Baroda enters into a mortgage contract with the late Joseph Sseruwo in August 1994 when the death certificate from the ministry of healthy shows that the man dies in April 1994” Suuza asked.

Atukunda after appearing before the land probe

He narrated that Miss Atukunda Sseruwo, the widow to the late was informed about the pending mortgage in the bank when Baroda hired Super Star auctioneers and court beliefs owned by MP Mawanda to evict her from her land and house situated on Kyadondo Block 129 plot 76.  Suuza said that Atukunda tried to seek audience from the bank management but they kept dodging her until the property was sold.

He said that Atukunda testified before the commission that even though she was willing to rescue her husband’s property from the bank through selling her piece of land in Luzira a Kampala suburb, she was not helped. Atukunda further told the commission that she hired lawyers from Nsubuga Mubiru, Bitangalo and company Advocates to legally follow up the matter and write asking them not to sell the property until evidence showing that her husband obtained the said loan is shown to her. The bank continued to sell the land in a very hostile manner.

Commissioner Joyce Gunza Habaasa told the commission that he has evidence that in 1993, valuers valued that confiscated land at Shs51m but the bank sold it to city land broker Charles Serukuma at only Shs5m. Suuza revealed that there was syndicate between Bank of Baroda, MP Mawanda and Serukuma to grab the Deadman’s estate  fraudulently. He asked why the bank claims that late Sseruwo applied for a loan of shs15m from the bank through Inter export Uganda limited yet he was not the only shareholder.

In his defense, Kumar testified that he has faced a lot of problems since the transaction was done in 1993 because most of the documents were not accessible. He said that the only document he managed to access is the application for the loan and the mortgage deeds. Kumar’s testimony shocked justice Catherine Bamugemereire the chairperson of the commission who wondered how Bank of Baroda which has been in existence for more than 66 years failed to keep records of its transactions and important documents. Kumar testified that what he is sure of is that Sseruwo was paid and the bank followed all the procedures to sell off the land because he failed to pay the loan.

Mawanda testifying before the land probe

He further informed the commission that Atukunda was in know of the loan because after the death of her husband, she paid shs8m but failed to complete the loan. Kumar said that right now, he has nothing to do for Atukunda because they are dealing with public money and the bank doesn’t have any money to compensate her. The commission also grilled MP Mawanga who illegally auctioned the land and ended up as the owner. Suuza said that Mawanda violently evicted Atukunda from their land after conniving with Baroda and Serukuma.

Mawanda blamed Katera, Kagumire and company Advocates for going ahead and auctioneering the property even though Atukunda’s lawyers warned them.

He said that he bought Atukunda’s land after Serukuma put it on the market because he is a land dealer, he paid shs6.8m.  However, Mawanda surprised the commission when he said that he doesn’t remember where he put the sales agreement because it is a long time and he left the business of court beliefs and join politics.

He told the commission that if it discovered that he fraudulently grabbed the land, let it be given back to Atukunda. The commission is still investigating the matter.

By Jamil Lutakome

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