End Of 40 Days? St Michael High School Director Mawanda, Three Others Remanded To Luzira Prison  Over UGX3.4 Billion Corruption Scandal

End Of 40 Days? St Michael High School Director Mawanda, Three Others Remanded To Luzira Prison Over UGX3.4 Billion Corruption Scandal

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By Spy Uganda

Kampala: The Director of St.Michael High School-Mukono Sonde cum MP Igara East Constituency in Bushenyi District Micheal Mawanda Maranga, Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi of Elgon County in Bulambuli District, and Paul Akamba of Busiki in Namutumba District appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court on Friday afternoon on charges of corruption.

The four suspects are accused of diverting Sh3.4 billion intended for government compensation of war losses to the Buyaka Producers Cooperative Society for their personal use.

The three legislators, along with City Attorney Julius Kirya of Kirya Company Advocates, have been remanded until July 9, 2024, as the state continues its investigations while other additional suspects remain at large.

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The four suspects are said to have diverted the money in contravention of Articles 6 and 26 of the Anti-Corruption Law of 2009, as amended. They are also accused of conspiring to defraud said money, in violation of Article 309 of the Penal Code Act, Chapter 120, for which they are charged. They denied the charges.

They were arraigned before the Nakasero court, presided over by Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro. Co-accused Leonard Kavundira, senior cooperative director at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, was not present in court.

“The accused have the right to apply for bail whenever and wherever they want, but according to their allegations, they are not prepared to apply for it. On the issue of disclosure (evidence), the prosecution is not prepared. Since the accused are not out on bail, this court cannot proceed to fix the hearing date. The matter is adjourned to the 24th in respect of A5 (Kavundira) who will appear to plead guilty,” Ms Aciro said.

Mawanda and his counterparts were arrested on Wednesday this week over allegations of mismanaging UGX 164 billion meant for war veterans and attempted fraud in connection with Buyaka Growers Cooperative Society.

Their arrest came after the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had summoned the three legislators regarding the alleged financial mismanagement of compensation funds designated for cooperatives.

Its worth remembering that Parliament investigations, ordered by Speaker Anita Among on August 29, 2023, uncovered widespread corruption within cooperatives to which Mawanda was implicated in the West Mengo Growers Cooperative Society, which engaged JM Musisi and Co. Advocates to pursue a claim of UGX 14 billion from the Ministry of Trade, Industries, and Cooperatives.

Sources revealed that despite not being a shareholder, Mawanda advised the SACCO to use the services of M/S Justin Mungoma and Co. Advocates. The Ministry released UGX 2 billion through this firm, but only UGX 50 million reached the intended beneficiaries.

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West Mengo Growers Cooperative Society accountant Muusa Bagala testified that upon learning of the UGX 2 billion release, he approached Mawanda, who suggested a UGX 50 million token for SACCO leaders. This money was later received from the law firm at KCB Bank in Kampala.

Mawanda’s group now joins Yusuf Mutembuli of Bunyole East, deputy chairperson of the Legal Committee of Parliament, Cissy Namujju of Lwengo District, and Paul Akamba who were accused of soliciting money from the Chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission, Mariam Wangadya, by demanding 20% of the anticipated enhanced budget for the UHRC for the financial years 2024-2026.

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