Appeals Court Upholds Top NGO boss UGX1.2Bn fine, 12 years Prison sentence

Kampala | URN – The Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of a former finance and administration manager at a health NGO, African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST).

Patrick Odele had run to the Court of Appeal in 2017 after the Anti-Corruption court charged him with 103 different counts relating to the scam in which Shs 1.5 billion was lost through fraudulent transactions including failure to remit to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) among others.

Now, in fresh orders issued by justices; Irene Mulyagonja, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi and Kenneth Kakuru, Odele who was earlier charged with eleven counts of embezzlement, thirty counts of forgery and sixty counts of uttering false documents will have to compensate the NGO Shs 780 million and pay another fine of Shs 719 million as earlier ordered by the trial court“The custodial sentences imposed by the High court are hereby upheld subject to only one condition namely, that all the sentences shall run concurrently with effect from the 04th of November 2017 to the date of conviction. Any period after the date of conviction during which the appellant has been on bail pending appeal shall be excluded from the computation of the sentences.  The compensatory orders of the trial court are likewise upheld,”

The trial court had sentenced Odele to 12 years in prison after they found that between May 2009 and 2011 as he worked for the NGO, he never remitted Pay as You Earn (PAYE) amounting to over Shs 305 million to the Uganda Revenue Authority as well as Shs 36 million that he had withdrawn from the ACHEST Bank of Baroda account to remit to NSSF but never did.

Prosecution also said Odele with intent to defraud, forged several cheques claiming to have been signed by executive director Prof. Francis Omaswa authorizing the withdrawal of huge sums of money. Altogether he reportedly embezzled Shs 1.5 billion.

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