Saturday, October 17, 2009

900 million at home NO!!!

Anti-corruption activists demand arrest of NFA boss
Alfred Nyongesa Wandera & Andrew BagalaKampala

The Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda, an anti-graft body, has asked Police to investigate how National Forestry Authority boss Damian Akankwasa got the Shs900 million, which was allegedly stolen from his home.

Mr Jasper Tumuhimbise, the Executive Director of ACCU, in a telephone interview yesterday, also questioned investigators’ credibility in handling the matter, expressing concern over how they could leave Mr Akankwasa to walk free when he ought to explain the source of the money.

Mr Tumuhimbise said Mr Akankwasa should be the first culprit, not his wife Juliet Katusiime, to be incarcerated to answer charges of either corruption or money laundering.

He told Daily Monitor that Mr Akankwasa, is a renowned anti-graft activist and is aware that keeping such big sums of money as petty cash is unlawful.

“There are only three ways through which he [Mr Akankwasa] must have obtained the money. He got it through corruption, money laundering or a combination of both.

It has never happened for one to hold such big amounts of money at home,” Mr Tumuhimbise said, adding that since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, governments across the world have increased vigilance on monetary transactions.

“When you make an electronic transfer cheque of over Shs20 million, you are required to go to the bank in person. But how can a person stay with Shs900 million at home and Police fail to question him?” he asked.

Police speak out

The Deputy Criminal Investigations Director, Mr Moses Sakira, said he had received similar concerns and subsequently instructed the lead investigator, Mr Paul Kato [Kampala Metropolitan CID Director] to, first, investigate whether the said money was there and secondly the source.

“It is true we have received concerns of how and where the money was got from. In fact, whether the said money existed. We aren’t going to leave any stone unturned. Our investigators are looking at all concerns and the truth will come out,” Mr Sakira said in an interview.

However, Mr Akankwasa has denied owning the money. He was quoted to have said that the money belonged to his brother George Akankwasa.

On Wednesday, it emerged that Ms Katusiime had allegedly deposited a substantial amount of the said stolen money in a microfinance institution in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb.

She was later taken by plain-clothed detectives to Money for Your Business Solutions, a microfinance institution, to establish whether she deposited the said money.

Mr Emmanuel Muhairwe, the Commandant of the Rapid Response Unit, said they are still holding her there but they are not involved in the investigations.

“Here we are only providing custody to her but not involved in investigations of her matter. It is Mr Kato who is investigating the matter,” Mr Muhairwe said.

Daily Monitor has learnt that Ms Katusiime‘s lawyer, Mr Bob Kasango, will today file an application seeking court to order Police to produce his client in Court.

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