10bn Pension scam: Former ministry officials jailed for 48 years,tasked to refund shs10 bn

The Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo has sentence the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service Jimmy Lwamafa and two other ministry officials and a city lawyer to a total of 48 years imprisonment after being found guilty of theft of sh15.4 billion meant for pensioners

Lwamafa was sentenced together with Christopher Obey, the former Principal Accountant in the Pensions Department, Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa, the former Director Research and Development and city lawyer Bob Kasango who had earlier been convicted of a number of charges ranging from conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to commit a felony and forgery of judicial documents.

Justice Margaret Tibulya said that evidence indicated that the three former Public Service ministry officials lived an artificial life using money they had stolen from government.

“All the three people have a past record of conviction on charges related to theft of government money and have been living fictitious lives. They were a liability to society,” Justice Tibulya said.

The judge said that despite being family heads, all the four convicts had caused a huge financial loss to government due to the roles they played in theft of the shs15.5 billion meant for pensioners.

The judge sentenced Lwamafa to seven years imprisonment for diversion of public funds and two years for conspiracy to defraud.

The nine years according to Justice Tibulya are to run consecutively.

The judge also sentenced Obey to a total of 14 years for all the charges against him whereas Kunsa is to serve nine years and lawyer Bob Kasango was sentenced 16 years.

The court also asked  each of the three former Public Service Ministry officials to refunds shs.3.5 billion whereas lawyer Bob Kasango was ordered to refund shs500 million.

Evidence by the prosecution indicated that  in December 2011 at the Ministry of Public Service headquarters in Kampala, Lwamafa, Obey and Kunsa while employed as permanent secretary, principal accountant in charge of pension and commissioner for compensation department, respectively, diverted Shs2 billion of government for the benefit of Hall and Partners purporting it to be payment for costs and legal fees in a High Court case of 1998.

According to prosecution in January 2012 they arbitrarily diverted another Shs3 billion to Hall and Partners and in February 2012, a similar amount was reportedly diverted to the same law company as purported payment for costs of a 1998 court case.

In March 2012, the three officials also diverted another Shs3 billion in respect of the same case and in June 2012 more than Shs1.4 billion was also paid out fraudulently.

Between July and August 2012, the trio diverted another Shs3 billion to the same Hall and Partners as legal costs but the money was allegedly stolen by lawyer Bob Kasango and this was meant for payment of pension and gratuity.

Evidence by prosecution also held that in June 2012, Kasango forged a court order against government dated June 22, 2012 directing the Attorney General to make a further payment of more than Shs3.9 billion as costs in the High Court case of 1998 purporting to have been issued by the Deputy Registrar of the High Court Civil Division.

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