Hoima District Councilors Detained Over Forgery and Abuse of Office

Friday, October 13, 2023

The Anti-Corruption Court’s Chief Magistrate, Joan Aciro, has handed down fines of Sh5 million each to three councilors from Hoima district who were found guilty of forgery and abuse of office charges. The convicted individuals are Benson Chiche, the Councilor of Buhanika Sub County; Jackson Mugenyi Mulindambura, the Councilor of Kiganja Sub County; and Geoffrey Komakech, the District Secretary for Finance and Administration, who also serves as the Councilor for Buseruka Sub County. This ruling, delivered by Justice Joan Aciro, clears the trio of wrongdoing, allowing them to continue their leadership roles.

These three councilors, along with former Hoima district engineer Ibrahim Luswata and the late Kadiri Kirungi, the former Hoima LCV chairman, were jointly accused of forgery under sections 342 and 347 of the Penal Code Act Cap 120, uttering a false document under sections 351 and 347 of the Penal Code Act, and conspiracy to commit a felony.

The prosecution’s case alleged that on August 28, 2021, the accused individuals conspired at Hoima Cultural Lodge in Hoima district to forge the District Executive Committee (DEC) minutes, with the intent to deceive. They falsely claimed that these minutes had been created during the DEC meeting on June 22, 2021. Furthermore, they were accused of intentionally presenting and fraudulently issuing a false document concerning the DEC minutes to Bernard Ochaya at the State House Anti-Corruption Unit in Entebbe on August 30, 2021, falsely purporting it to have been produced during the DEC meeting on June 22, 2021, which was untrue.

The district leaders faced trouble stemming from the alleged misuse of road equipment that had been impounded by the Police and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit in late August 2021. This equipment, which included a grader and a Vibro roller machine, was discovered on a private farm owned by an Indian investor in Kaduku village, Kigumba Town Council, Kiryandongo district, the previous month. At the time of the seizure, the grader and Vibro roller had their number plates removed.

This led to the arrest of the former Hoima District Engineer, Ibrahim Luswata, Vincent Irumba, the works supervisor, and Charles Tibagwa, a mechanic associated with Hoima district local government. They were accused of colluding with other district leaders to misuse the equipment.

On April 5, 2022, Ibrahim Luswata, the former Hoima district engineer, entered into a plea agreement and admitted to charges of abuse of office and causing a financial loss to the government. Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the same court found Luswata guilty, imposed a fine of Sh8 million on him, and banned him from holding public office for a period of ten years.

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Johnson Kanyesige is a Ugandan journalist, news reporter and show host. He works at Spice Media Group and The Black Examiner