The Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala has granted bail to six officials from the Office of the Prime Minister accused of embezzlement of funds meant for the Karamoja Karamoja Peace Initiative project.
On Friday, the court presided over by Acting Senior Principal Grade One Magistrate Abert Asiimwe granted the officials bail following successful applications from their different lawyers.
The court ordered each of the officials to deposit their passports with the court and copies of land titles, as well as to stop frequenting their offices.
They are Deogratious Masigazi, the Under Secretary and Head of the Pacification and Development Program, Joshua Abaho, the Senior Assistant Secretary, the Principal Assistant Secretary Barbara Asasira, Emmy Tonny Ameny, the Assistant Commissioner Programs, Peter Amodoi, the Programs Officer, and the Assistant Secretary Samuel Ofungi
The court then ordered Masigazi to pay 20 million shillings in cash and his sureties 100 million shillings in cash; Asasira to pay 10 million shillings in cash; Ameny to pay 7 million shillings in cash and his sureties 40 million shillings in cash; Amodoi to pay 4 million shillings in cash and his sureties 30 million shillings in cash; and Ofungi to pay 1 million shillings in cash and his sureties 5 million shillings in cash.
The suspects presented sureties, including their relatives, workmates, friends, and spouses, whom the court found to be substantial.
While granting them bail, Asiimwe said that the decision to ask each of the suspects to pay different sums of bail money was because of the variations in offenses. He says that each played a different role.
He has also ordered them to desist from actions that may sabotage the ongoing prosecution investigations.
State Attorney Rogers Kinobe was also ordered to expedite its inquiries and report back to court on July 26th, 2023, over the progress.
The staff are jointly charged with their boss, Geoffrey Sseremba, the Undersecretary/Accounting Officer, who reportedly approved the money that was lost without following any work plan or genuine activity.
Sseremba did not appear in court despite the summons issued against him two days ago.
The court has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against him and ordered that he should appear without fail on June 21st, 2023, for plea-taking.
The accused persons were granted bail on 12 counts of causing financial loss, abuse of office, and embezzlement.
It is alleged that between February and June 2022, Sseremba and Masigazi approved a total cash payment of 4,497,132,000 (four billion, four hundred and ninety-seven million, one hundred and thirty-two thousand) Shillings to the various members of staff without a proper work plan for a genuine activity to be carried out.
Each of the said officials reportedly played various roles in the embezzlement of the funds, which were meant for the Karamoja Peace Initiative project.
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