A suspect being arrested (courtesy photo)

The Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala has remanded ten officials from Bugiri District for paying 1.2 billion shillings in fictitious salary arrears during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The suspects are; Ezakuru Kazimiro the former Chief Administrative Officer of Bugiri District, Mustapha Nyende the Bugiri District Finance Officer, Minsa Atoire and Fred Bazibu the Bugiri District Senior Accountant.

Others are; Henry Kabulo the Bugiri District Education Officer, Haruna Kamba the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Paul Moses Isiko the Bugiri District Production Officer, Fred Ikaaba and Muhammad Kyonda; the Bugiri District Engineer and Planner.

The suspects were on Wednesday arraigned before Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro and charged with four counts of causing financial loss.

The court has heard that between March 2019 and December 2022  Ezakuru; the current CAO of Madi -Okollo District while employed as the Chief Administrative officer of Bigiri District together with Chief Finance Officer  Nyende Mustapha and Senior Accountant  Minsa Atoire irregularly initiated, validated and approved payment of fictitious salary arrears to a tune of 1.2 billion shillings to various employees of Bugiri District Local Government well knowing that their actions would occasion loss to the government. 

According to the IGG,  the other seven suspects including the District Education Officer Kabulo Henry and the Deputy CAO Haruna Kamba aided and abetted the irregular payments thereby causing the government a  1.2bn shillings.

The prosecutors attached to the Inspectorate of Government including Ernest Katwesigye told the court that inquiries into the matter are completed and they have lined up 92 witnesses including district staff whose salaries were swindled.

The suspects who were arrested on Monday by the Inspectorate of Government following complaints from several district employees denied the charges and asked to be released on bail.  They cited grounds of ill health, the charges being bailable among others.

Despite presenting sureties who included their relatives and friends, the prosecution sought an adjournment to respond to the bail application. They were then remanded and sent to Luzira Prison until Wednesday.

According to information obtained from the investigators, the said swindled money was meant to pay teachers during the 2019-2020 COVID-19 lockdown.

URN.

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