Judiciary to repay Shs94m swindled by court officials

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By EPHRAIM KASOZI

Kampala- The Inspector General of Government (IGG) has ordered the Judiciary to refund $26,000 (about Shs93.6m), which was shared by court officials at the Makindye-based Family Court.

The money had been deposited to court for ‘safe custody’ upon an order pending disposal of a divorce case between Ms Rachael Kisakye Nalukwago and then estranged husband Ryan Nobert Kaminski, an American citizen, in February 2016.

“This is, therefore, to direct you to, within 45 days, refund the $25,924 that was deposited with the court to Ms Rachael Kisakye Nalukwago Kaminski and Mr Ryan Nobert Kaminski and thereafter pursue Mr Paul Mwemeke (former cashier) with a view to prosecuting him and recovering the said sum of money from him,” Deputy IGG Mariam Wangadya ordered.

In the September 13 order to the Judiciary permanent secretary, Mr Kagole Kivumbi, the ombudsman observed that the Judiciary is liable and should refund the money to the parties.

Ms Wangadya also ordered the Judiciary to update the Inspectorate on the development within 60 days from the date of receipt of the order.
Mr Kivumbi confirmed receipt of the directive. “As you read in the report, the money was never received by the Judiciary, so I am still consulting the Solicitor General on how to implement the (IGG) directive,” Mr Kivumbi said in a telephone interview.

The matter
The IGG directive was in regard to a complaint in which High Court Registrar Justine Atukwasa and Mr Mwemeke were accused of stealing $25,924, which had been deposited by the litigants.

Upon mediation of the case, a consent agreement was signed and, among others, the couple agreed to share the money but the registrar and the cashier failed to pay it back.

“In an internal memo dated March 29, 2017, to the Secretary to the Judiciary, Mr Mwemeke acknowledged failing to avail the money when the parties to the divorce cause demanded for it on March 10, 2018. In the same memo, he apologised and undertook to refund the money within three months,” reads the IGG letter, adding that Mr Mwemeke has since disappeared.

According to the IGG, Mr Mwemeke did not bank the money on the Judiciary account. “It was established that the petitioner deposited the said funds with the High Court Family Division and not an individual following a lawful decision from the same court and the funds could not be refunded to the parties because its employee, Mr Mwemeke, spent the funds,” reads the report.

Monitor.co.ug

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