EXCLUSIVE: Former Minister Esther Mbayo cited in Cases of Embezzlement and fraud

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Former Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo; Courtesy Photo

Sabasaba has exclusively learnt that former Minister for Presidency, Hon Esther Mbayo, is wanted by police to answer charges of alleged involvement in fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling.

During a plenary session in parliament on Wednesday, Speaker Jacob Oulanyah informed the house that his office had received criminal summons against Esther Mbayo who is also Woman member of parliament Luuka District.

According to the CID Spokesperson Charles Twine, criminal summons against Mbayo, were issued on 13th September 2021, over her alleged involvement in the ongoing investigations into 3Billion fraud at Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC).

It is also alleged that Mbayo is also wanted to answer charges of abuse of office following allegations that while in office of the president, she used her influence to fraudulently recruit Ms Christine Mayengo as Finance Manager at UPPC, despite lack of required academic qualifications for the job.

It is further alleged that Mbayo is cited in the 2.4BN shillings fraud, part of which is the 664 million cash that was recently recovered by police and believed to have been siphoned by officials from the government-owned Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC).

Although Mr Twine could not verify or deny this claim, highly placed sources at CID confirmed that witnesses and suspects interrogated by police, claimed that Mbayo allegedly parted with a share in the 3BN embezzlement scandal at UPPC.

“It is very true we are undertaking investigations concerning abuse of office, causing financial loss and embezzlement of money from the UPPC, a corporation that was supervised by Hon Esther Mbayo as minister for presidency. And it’s also true that on 13th September after interviewing different suspects and witnesses from UPPC, we found it necessary to interact with Hon Esther Mbayo” Mr Twine said.

Twine says the summons were issued through the Right Honorable Speaker Jacob Oulanyah on 13th September 2021, but the speaker on 20th September, asked police to reschedule the invitation since Mbayo was out of the country on official duties. Twine said, soon, fresh summons against Mbayo will be issued directing her to report to CID offices and record a statement on the said allegations.

Police investigations into abuse of office follow allegations that the UPPC Executive Board, under the influence of Mbayo, irregularly recruited Christine Mayengo as Manager for Finance, yet she lacked academic documents confirming that she was a degree holder -which was one of the minimum qualification requirements for the job.

Independent sources intimated to us that Christine Mayengo is a sister to Esther Mbayo and the Head of Human resource at UPPC had rejected her name on the shortlist on account of lack of academic qualifications. For reasons suspected to be influence peddling, the lady was given the job. If this is proved, this would tantamount to abuse of office.

Independent sources also intimated to us that this and other claims against Esther Mbayo were partly, reason as to why president Yoweri Museveni dropped her name from the recent cabinet list.

The recovery of the 664million followed the arrest of Prof Tom Davis Wasswa, the Managing Director of UPPC a day after the Minister for Presidency Milly Babalanda Babirye interdicted him together with 8 other UPPC board members on August 17.

Prof. Tom Davis Wasswa was interdicted alongside Vincent Kityamuweesi Musubire, UPPC board chairperson, company secretary Moreen Nyakato, and internal auditor, Andrew Senaburya, to pave way for investigations into allegations of corruption and other irregularities. In the meantime, Mr. James Tweheyo is the caretaker managing director UPPC.

Twine said, as police, they will not leave any stone unturned as far as the investigations into this matter is concerned, and summoning Mbayo or anyone else is part of the quest to conduct an impartial, systematic and procedural investigation.

During the plenary session on Wednesday, Mbayo raised a matter over the said summons claiming she was mistreated by an official at Kibuli CID offices who called her to come and record a statement instead of issuing summons through the speakers office as procedure demands.

Twine refuted the claims by Hon Mbayo, saying the due process was followed and the same will be done in issuing fresh summons to Mbayo.

He pledged commitment to according respect to individuals of stature, and to working with parliament in dispensation of criminal justice especially if the matter involves members of parliament.

This was also in response to speaker Oulanyah’s call on security, when he said there should be respect of office and status of the members of Parliament during execution of summons and arrests involving MPs, and security operatives of a “certain” status, not just Police Constables should be assigned for such assignments.

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