DPP Ordered to Recover UGX 170m from Convicted Police Officer

1098 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Obua was found guilty of embezzlement and abuse of office. Court heard that Obua stole 170 million Shillings which he had access to by virtue of his office while serving at the Anti-Theft Stock Unit ASTU tactical headquarters in Katakwi District, between September 12 and 13, 2006.

The Court of Appeal has expressed concern at the failure by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to recover more than 170 million Shillings from a convict.

This followed a request by State Attorney Abigail Agaba to the court to dismiss an appeal filed by Assistant Inspector of Police James Godfrey Obua challenging a four-year jail term handed to him after a conviction by the Anti-Corruption Court in 2010.

Obua was found guilty of embezzlement and abuse of office. Court heard that Obua stole 170 million Shillings which he had access to by virtue of his office while serving at the Anti-Theft Stock Unit (ASTU) tactical headquarters in Katakwi District, between September 12 and 13, 2006.

Obua is alleged to have stolen the money meant for salaries for over 1,000 Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) personnel in north-eastern Uganda, moments after it was withdrawn from Stanbic Bank, Soroti by the then ASTU staff officer, Joseph Kedi Okiror.

In his statement Okiror indicated that he had locked the money in a safe and deployed a radio technician, Joseph Owor, to guard the place. But by 6:00 am, the money was reported missing leading to the arrest of a number of suspects. It was later traced to Obua's account in Nile Bank.  Obua was convicted and ordered to refund the money to the state.

He challenged the sentence in the appellant court.  However, a decision was never taken within the four years, during which he successfully served his four-year sentence but without refunding the money.

Today, a panel of three judges; Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Jane Persis Kiggundu and Steven Musota questioned how the office of the DPP failed to execute the recovery.

"What have you been doing as DPP for all these years?" That's a big loss to the state", Justice Kiggundu said at the beginning of a one-month marathon session in which a number of Appeals from cases determined by the Anti-Corruption Court between 2010 and 2017 will be disposed of.

Agaba apologized for the anomaly and asked the court to dismiss the appeal. But the judges unanimously ordered the DPP to recover the said money within 90 days.

Agaba said that the office of the DPP has since instituted a Directorate on asset recovery, which she hopes will be very useful in executing such recoveries.