Finance ministry bosses who ate sh1b bribe have been jailed

Two officials of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development have been convicted of corruption offences and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

Justice Lawrence Gidudu, the head of the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court, yesterday also ordered the convicts — Charles Ogol, 59, and Geoffrey Turyamuhika alias Tumwine, 38 — to pay a fine of sh4.5m each to the Government.

The court also disqualified each of the convicts from holding public office for 10 years from the date of conviction. The duo was found guilty of soliciting $300,000 (about sh1b) out of which they received $33,200 (about sh122.8m) from Hassan Sserunjogi.

The convicts solicited and received the money from Sserunjogi on January 30, 2017 in order to expedite documentation for financing the construction of a power substation and transmission line at the Sukulu phosphate project in Tororo.

Ogol was principal finance officer while Turyamuhika was a senior economist. The judge said he gave the sentence taking into account its impact on the image of the State in fighting corruption and the livelihood of the dependents of the convicts.

He said the money the convicts received as a bribe was seized by the Police and exhibited in court.

“I am inclined to impose a sentence that would communicate the message that corruption if proven in court would attract punishment. At the same time the sentence would not be such as to keep away the convicts from supporting their families for long considering that the bribe they received was seized,” Gidudu said.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.