The Inspector General of Government, Betty Kamya has withdrawn bribery charges against former Uganda Bureau of Standards Executive Director, Ebiru David Livingstone.
Ebiru has been facing charges of offering a bribe or gratification to Charles Masekuura, the UNBS board chairperson between October and December 2022. The bribe was allegedly part of his efforts to retain his position as the UNBS Executive Director.
URN has however seen a letter written by the Deputy IGG Dr. Patricia Achan Okiria indicating that the government of Uganda is no longer interested in continuing with the case. The letter was addressed to the trial Magistrate and High Court Anti-Corruption Division. “Take notice that the Government of Uganda intends that the proceedings against Livingstone Ebiru shall not continue “, reads the letter. It however doesn’t indicate reasons for withdrawing the charges.
Although the withdrawal letter has already been received on the court record, Ebiru will be formally discharged on October 31, 2023 when the matter will be returning for mention before the trial Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro.
The charges against Ebiru have been withdrawn without him ever stepping foot before the Court. He was arrested and brought to court premises on July 26th, 2023 taken back to IGG/police and released under unknown circumstances.
The court issued criminal summons requiring him to appear in court and be charged but he didn’t show up. A warrant of arrest had been issued against him earlier by the IGG. However, moments after being taken into the court cells, he was taken back to the office of the IGG/police before the court could convene, hence the issuance of a criminal summons against him.
The Court later on August 8th, 2023 issued a warrant of arrest requiring police to arrest Ebiru upon sight and compel him to come and take plea.
Instead, his lawyers filed a case before the High Court challenging the trial seeking the court to make a declaration that the criminal summons, warrant of arrest, and trial against him were illegal.
Ebiru had also sought a permanent injunction against the IGG and her agents from instituting charges against him. He had also sought an order for compensation against the government for violating his fundamental rights. He argued that the proceedings were being levied against him before investigations could be finalized and that he was to suffer irreparable damages.
The Anti-Corruption High Court Division Judge Lady Justice Jane Kajuga on September 20th, 2023 dismissed Ebiru’s application for lack of jurisdiction, thereby okaying the charges that have been withdrawn to continue.
Commenting about the decision to withdraw charges, Ebiru’s lawyers led by Silas Kahima Mugabi said that the charges were maliciously levied against their client and they are not surprised that the same have been withdrawn.
“From day one, the charges were a nonstarter, borne out of malice and without proper investigations being done, so it’s not surprising they have been withdrawn,” Mugabi said.
Ebiru had told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises Committee (PAC-COSASE) that he bribed UNBS Board Chair, Charles Musekura with one hundred million shillings. He later turned around and said he made the confession out of anger and that he had never actually bribed anyone.
David Livingstone Ebiru was sacked in August following an investigation by the parliamentary probe and the Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS) Board.