Crime & Investigation

Is CIID ‘Killing’ Shs 165bn Pension Case?

CIID boss Grace Akullo and Police publicist, Fred Enanga (R) at a  recent press conference in Kampala

By Chimp Investigations Unit

A high-level security investigation has been opened into circumstances under which the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (CIID) fell short of providing crucial material needed to successfully prosecute Cairo International Bank (CIB) officials in the theft of Shs169bn meant for pensioners.

This followed a ruling by High Court Justice Benjamin Kabiito last week, store http://ddmdevelopment.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-posts-list-table.php prohibiting the DPP against charging CIB officials with several counts of forgery and causing financial loss to the Ugandan taxpayer through creation of ghost pensioners through which money credited to the fake accounts was withdrawn by fraudsters.

Kabiito heaped blame on the DPP for “selective prosecution” before quashing the charge sheet and criminal summons which had earlier been issued for the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, cialis 40mg Tareq Mohammed.

The Judge argued that while the police report implicated several government institutions and bodies including Bank of Uganda and Ministry of Finance, it was unjust to try only CIB officials.

Kabiito further expressed shock that the bank’s Managing Director Nabil Ganame and Executive Director, Osama Darwish had never been invited to police to record a statement yet appeared on the charge sheet.

The ruling has raised issues of “credibility” and “seriousness” on the part of CIID in ensuring Shs165bn of pensioners stolen by government officials and the bank staff is recovered.

It also challenges the commitment of the police’s investigation’s body in cracking down of graft that costs the country billions of shillings per year.

Police in 2012 arrested CIB bosses and Public Service Ministry officials for being part of a scheme where ghost pensioners were created and billions of shillings deposited on their accounts before being withdrawn by fraudsters.

The suspects included general manager operations, Muhammad Ahmad Tarek; his assistant, Ishaka Ssentongo and compliance officer, Rahmah Mugeere.

Others were Grace Beinomugisha (head of customer care); Ismail Kizito and Abbey Kaddu, the authorizing officer.

In the Public service, Permanent Secretary Jimmy Lwamafa and Principal Accountant Christopher Obey, Kiwanuka Kunsa, David Oloka, Francis Lubega and Stephen Lwanga were temporarily held for embezzlement, neglect of duty, abuse of office and causing financial loss.

Probe

Chimpreports now understands that a team of security officials are now verifying intelligence that a top CIID official has connived with CIB by providing the DPP with less information thus making it difficult for the prosecutors to maintain charges against the financial institution’s bosses.

The Solicitor General recently questioned the motive of the second report compiled by police in the investigation of the pension scam, saying, it lacks the “necessary substance” needed to cause the conviction of suspected fraudsters at Cairo International Bank and other government officials.

On October 31, CIID boss AIGP Grace Akullo, forwarded to the DPP a report titled “Alleged causing financial loss to the tune of shs165bn, abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud by the officials of Ministry of Public Service, Peter Ssajjabi and Cairo International Bank Vide CIID headquarters E/003/2013.”

The investigation followed a huge public outcry after it emerged that Public Service Ministry staff had connived with CIB to steal shs165bn for aged and helpless pensioners.

In her letter, Akullo said “as you are aware, since 2012 CIID has been investigating the alleged financial mismanagement of pension funds. Questioned documents were forwarded to handwriting expert for forensic analysis and a report is still pending and shall be forwarded in due course. This is to forward a copy of the report for your information and further management of the case.”

When this report reached the office of Solicitor General, officials were shocked to realise that crucial evidence which had been tendered in an earlier report on the same case were missing.

“Upon reading the said report we realise that it departs in material respects from the earlier report prepared by police,” wrote J Atwine on behalf of the Solicitor General to Barbara Kawuma Bugembe, a senior State Attorney, Anti Corruption Court Section.

Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, recently defended the second report, describing it as “inclusive” and “more detailed”.

He denied allegations that it would lead to the exoneration of the suspects in the multi-billion fraud that shocked and angered the nation.

“At the end of the investigation, all details were provided to the DPP. If there are any problems, they can be resolved. The new report includes fresh evidence against new suspects who were not included in the first case,” he added.

But sources said by compromising crucial material in the first police report, the case might crumble, costing the taxpayer a staggering shs165bn.

The same amount of money can construct about 165 kilometres of tarmac road (E.g. from Mbarara to Katuna) thus boosting trade and transport and even lowering the cost of doing business in the country.

Uganda has lost dozens of high profile corruption cases worth billions of shillings due to mismanagement at the investigation level.

Failure to convict Cairo Bank officials in whose systems police discovered large troves of evidence of ghost pensioners receiving money, would make it difficult to find Public Service officials culpable thus ‘killing’ the entire case.

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