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Former Arua district officials sent to high court for diversion of funds

Joseph Monday Bagonza the town clerk of Ibanda municipal council appearing in court on Wednesday. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Grade One Magistrate Moses Nabende of the Anti-Corruption Court has committed four former officials of Arua municipal council to high court for trial on charges of diverting more than 436 million Shillings.

Those on trial include Jamilu Kasajja Kairu, the former town clerk of Arua municipal council and now town clerk for Kapchorwa municipal council Rajab Kamil Erejl, the former principal treasurer Andrew Otim Kibwota who was the accounting officer and Joseph Monday Bagonza the current town clerk of  Ibanda district formerly employed in Arua municipal council as a deputy town clerk.

The group appeared before Anti-Corruption Court Grade One Magistrate Moses Nabende on Wednesday but were committed to the high court to face trial on charges of abuse of office and diversion of more than 436 million Shillings of government funds.

The prosecution team led by Abigail Agaba informed the court that investigations into this case  were complete and tendered to court a summary of the evidence against the accused persons.

According to the summary of the evidence, during the financial year 2017/2018, the accused persons reportedly used their offices to divert 436 million Shillings that was meant for road works in Arua and instead used it to pay allowances to individual officers and councillors. The documentary evidence is signed by State Attorney Agaba on behalf of the DPP.

It is also alleged that the accused persons did an arbitrary act prejudicial to their employer by abusing their offices in conspiring to defraud the money in question before diverting it for their own benefit. The group that has been appearing in court to be updated on the progress of investigations since their release on bail in February 2019 has since denied the charges.

Meanwhile, today was the first time for one of the accused persons Joseph Monday Bagonza, the Ibanda town clerk to appear in court. The court had previously charged Bagonza in absentia and issued a criminal summons for him to come and take a plea. Today, Bagonza told the court that he had been feeling unwell.

As a result, the magistrate had to read for Bagonza the charges of conspiring with his colleagues to divert the money in question. But Bagonza denied the charges and was later released on a cash bail of three million shillings. His sureties were bonded on a non-cash bond of 20 million Shillings each.

After committing the group to the high court to face trial, the Magistrate ordered the accused persons to liaise with the Deputy Registrar of the High Court for further instructions in this case.

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