Judiciary PS snubs criminal investigations team on bank statements - Whisper Eye

Judiciary PS snubs criminal investigations team on bank statements

Efforts by the Criminal investigations department of police to secure accountability documents for money that was reportedly wired to personal accounts of Judiciary staff have so far yielded no fruit. This is according to Detective Assistant Inspector of Police Olwach Michael.

The detectives were tasked by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to gather all documents showing the allotment of up to 32.8 billion Shillings that wired to staff personal accounts. Also required was the list of staff members who were advanced money, their personal Bank Account details and Bank Statements.

The payments were first queried by the Auditor General in his report for the financial year ended June 30, 2018, as money that was wrongly expended by the Judiciary without appropriately applying the Chart of Accounts. However, the Permanent Secretary Kagole Kivumbi told the committee that the money had been spent on court operations, mediation, imprest, locus visits, HIV medical allowances and Monitoring and Evaluation.

As such, the committee tasked him to present proof of the disbursements and advances to staff.  But the detectives told the committee that they have failed to secure the said documents from the Permanent Secretary, whose known contacts, according to them, have remained unavailable since the day the directive was issued.

“We wrote and by yesterday, the Permanent Secretary known numbers were unavailable. We then contacted the Judiciary Under Secretary Aggrey Owany who said the documents were being worked on,” Olwach reported to PAC Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi.

Kagole confirmed receiving a letter from PAC regarding accountability documents but said that he was out of the office on Friday. “I was granted permission on Friday by the Chief Justice to be away and attend a graduation ceremony at Mukono. I also attend to my children,” Kagole told the committee. Nevertheless, he added, the bank accounts details had been delivered to the Office of Clerk to Parliament on Friday.

But the decision to overlook the Criminal Investigations Department sparked fury among members prompting them to question the motive.

Later when the documents were delivered, Committee Chairperson Nandala Mafabi observed that they were not complete. He said that account details from 147 courts across the country were missing together with account details of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Also missing was the account details for Judicial Studies Institute (JSI) on which 320.1 million was reportedly assigned.

The committee asked Kagole to exit the meeting with the CID team and ensure that he avails all the missing documents. But Kagole pleaded that he needed more time and was given up to tomorrow to deliver on his promise.

Earlier in the investigation, Nandala said that scrutiny of a detailed document indicated that the funds had been wired to individual accounts of different Judicial officers and Justices for reasons including office operational funds, payment of tuition, medical fees among others. Nandala also noted that the development correlates with the information provided by a whistleblower to the committee.

Besides the 32 billion, Nandala directed Kagole to avail accountabilities of another 800 million Shillings which was allegedly returned to the PS from the Transport Department in the financial year 2017/2018.

PAC also demanded accountability of 841.6 million Shillings which was retained on the Judiciary Accounts as at end of the Financial Year 2017/2018. Nandala had required Kagole to give a detailed statement on the matter and any other staff relevant statement to the investigators.