Joel Ssenyonyi, Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), has expressed shock at the decision by IGG to withdraw corruption charges against former UNBS Boss David Ebiru despite furnishing them with evidence of the latter confessing to paying bribe of Shs100M to have his contract extended.
According to a withdrawal form addressed to Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro of the Anti-Corruption Court on October 26, the IGG did not give reasons for her actions.
“Take notice that the government of Uganda intends that the proceedings against Livingstone Ebiru shall not continue,” reads in part the withdrawal form signed by Deputy IGG Patricia Achan Okiria on October 25.
But Ssenyonyi described the decision as unfortunate.
“During the COSASE inquiry into UNBS, we publicly showed these messages to the then ED David Ebiru, and he admitted that the messages were true and were exchanged between him and a board member. It is shocking that charges against him have now been withdrawn without a valid reason,” wrote Joel Ssenyonyi on his X, formerly Twitter handle.
“Because it is corruption that keeps this government together, once you fight it, they will be fighting themselves, they will be cutting off their legs, which is why they cannot fight it,” he said.
However, Patricia Ochan, Deputy IGG in a media interview defended the decision to withdraw the charges against Ebiru, saying COSASE only provided proceedings of the Committee without accompanying this with evidence of the Board Members soliciting or even receiving the said bribe, which made it hard for IGG to sustain bribery charges against Ebiru in court.
Munira Ali, the public relations officer in the IGG’s office, said they withdrew the case because they lacked sufficient evidence.
“That crime requires proof beyond reasonable doubt which we could not get at that time,” she said.
“And to make matters worse, he [Ebiru] went to Parliament and withdrew the statement the following day, making it difficult for us to proceed,” she added.
However, Ms Munira said the IGG is still investigating Unbs.
“Once we are done, we shall take the necessary action,” she said.