Four Soroti University officials charged for Shs.15.9 million Theft
Four Officers of Soroti University in Eastern Uganda have been jointly charged for stealing Shs.15,900,000/= (UGX Fifteen Million Nine Hundred Thousand).
The officials who appeared today before the Anti-Corruption Court at Kololo in Kampala, are Assistant Estates’ Officer David Omeke, Internal Auditor James Odongo, Acting Bursar Gilbert Otim and Acting University Secretary Samuel Omoding. They were charged before the Magistrate Moses Nabende. Prosecutor Nicholas Kawooya presented the charges.
The Anti–Corruption Unit in State House received complaints relating to abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss, soliciting and receiving bribes and mismanagement of Shs.5.3 billion, among others, at Soroti University.
After interactions with officials of the University on 2nd October 2019, investigations were commenced into a range of issues that included the Greening Project. Other related issues pertain to whether Lawrence Too-Okema, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Soroti University, solicited for and received a bribe from the contractor, Michael Opalet. The third issue was whether there were any offences committed under the Anti-Corruption Act by the Internal Auditor and the Bursar when they travelled to the North African country of Morocco. The other issue is what offences were committed when people who did not attend the Private, Public Partnership Conference were facilitated for the same.
The first charge at today’s Magistrate’s was of abuse of office. Prosecution informed the court that between the 11th and 25th September 2019, at Soroti University, the officers abused the authority of their respective offices by carrying out arbitrary acts prejudicial to the interest of their employer. It was stated that without authority, the 4 requisitioned, processed and made payment of Shs. 15.9 million to themselves and to others purportedly for facilitation to participate in the high level inauguration of the Private-Public-Partnership Conference of 2019 at Kampala Serena Hotel that ran from the 16th to 18th September 2019.
The Prosecutor, in presenting the second charge, said that between the 11th and 18th September 2019 the officers, in their respective capacities, knowingly furnished a false claim of Shs.15.9 million. The third charge is of embezzlement while the fourth one is of causing financial loss to Soroti University.
The four accused, who were represented by their lawyer Bosco Okiror, entered pleas of not guilty and made frantic attempts to apply for bail but the Magistrate would not hear their application due to time constraint. He remanded them into custody until Tuesday 12th November 2019 when court will be ready to attend to their bail applications. ENDS