Bank of Uganda Officials Francis Kakeeto and Fred Vito Wanyama (behind)
The Director of Public Prosecutions has withdrawn charges against three Bank of Uganda officials who have been facing trial for having allowed an authorized cargo onto a chartered plane about two years ago.
The officials who have been facing charges of corruption and abuse of office before the Anti-Corruption Court Grade One Magistrate Abert Asiimwe are Francis Kakeeto the Assistant Currency Director for Bank of Uganda Mbale Branch, Fred Vito Wanyama the Verification Officer and the Currency Director Charles Malinga Akol.
The trio has been in court for having reportedly allowed the inclusion of unauthorized cargo on a plane chartered by Bank of Uganda on its way between France, Belgium and Entebbe International Airport on April 26 2019.
The prosecution accused them for having done actions prejudicial to their employer by having corruptly neglected to perform their duties by failing to refute or report the inclusion of the said unauthorized cargo on a plane fully chartered by Bank of Uganda.
Following this, the Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile released a statement saying that during the verification process his staff reported an anomaly in the inventory of the expected consignment.
According to Mutebile, the fully chartered plane that was supposed to carry only cargo for the central bank had carried five extra pallets whose origin the central bank didn’t know. The bank noted that they knew only 20 pallets that had 70 million pieces of 5,000 bill notes.
Accordingly, Mutebile on May 3rd 2019 wrote to the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit Edith Nakalema to conduct a probe into an extra cargo.
Nakalema arrested the trio and forwarded their file to Criminal Investigations Department of Police and they were charged before the Anti-Corruption Court in June 2019 basing on the said allegations which they all denied.
But the Prosecution adduced only one witness in December 2020 and their trial was supposed to resume before Abert Asiimwe the Grade One Magistrate.
However, the Prosecution led by Steven Ariong told court that the Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo had directed that the matter be terminated and accordingly presented a withdrawal document dated February 18 2021. The magistrate was now left with no option but to set free the accused.
He has also ordered the State to refund the bail monies, that the trio had paid in June 2019 and also to release their land titles and passports which had earlier been surrendered to court as a bail condition.
On the said bail monies, Malinga had paid 40 million shillings, Kakeeto 30 million shillings and Wanyama 20 million shillings.They had also been interdicted from their respective jobs to pave way for investigations into this matter.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network on phone, the Deputy Public Relations Officer at the office of the DPP Irene Nakimbugwe confirmed this development for the withdrawal saying that the DPP had previously called for the file for review and found that they did not have sufficient evidence against the accused and thus decided to terminate proceedings.
Article 120 of the Constitution gives powers to the DPP to discontinue any criminal proceedings instituted by himself or herself at any stage before judgement delivery without even giving reasons.