The Secretary to the Judiciary Mr Pius Bigirimana has exposed a possible fraud of shs. 1.6 billion security deposit refund which was orchestrated by three top officials arising from Commercial Court in an application OO-C- No-08 of 2006.
The officials in Judiciary behind this dubious deal used Heed Debt Recovery Services Limited to claim the payment which was initiated through a Court Order issued by Deputy Registrar Dr Agnes Nkonge on June 4, 2020.
“Let the total sum of Ug. Shs. 1,681,471,042 that was deposited with the registrar of High Court on the 26th July 2006 under General Receipt No: Y0266225 as per attached payment advice of 26th day of July 2006, be paid out to the applicant/ claimants and or their authorized agents/ representatives of the following details,” Nkonge ordered Secretary to the Judiciary who is the accounting officer.
She provided the Bank details of the receiver (Account Name) as Heed Recovery Services Ltd: Account NO 7255001733 in Eco Bank Rwenzori Towers Branch, a Building owned by Attorney General William Byaruhanga.
The payment was further expedited by Deputy Registrar High Court Mary Ikit who wrote a Memo to the accounting officer requesting him to release money to the said beneficiary.
“The above mentioned Miscellaneous Application was completed at Commercial Division and the Court ordered for the Security Deposit Refund,” Ikit’s memo to the accounting officer reads.
According to a source in Judiciary, after money was transferred to Eco Bank, on July 8, the Secretary to the Treasurer Keith Muhakanizi wrote to Bigirimana top halt the payment because it was a possible fraud.
The cash which was released by bank of Uganda was deposited on the accounts of Ms Heed Debt Recovery Services Ltd through its account held in ECO bank Rwenzori branch.
Pius Bigirimana is the chief accounting officer of the judiciary and is charged with signing for every single coin released by the institution. It remains unclear how the said billions were released to the fraudsters under his watch.
“The amount was transferred by bank of Uganda to the said and by the time the fraud was detected the suspects had already withdrew shs 200,000,000/=” Letter reads
It adds” The purpose of this letter is to request you to provide; requisition with its attachment (if any) made to your office which led to the approval of the payment, payment request to Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and other documents, a list of officials who handled the process and any other document related to the case under investigation”
“You are also requested to make a statement in relation to the alleged fraudulent transfer”.
Ag Registrar High Court Ikit Mary wrote to Pius Bigirimana requesting for security deposit refund in the sum of shs 16,8171042/= vide Commercial Division HCC 08 of 2006 arising from tax appeals tribunal of Kampala Application number TAT 902 /2008 Kasekende Mujuzi and others Vs Uganda Revenue Authority
Mary Ikit noted that the above case was completed at commercial court and that court ordered for the refund.
“This is therefore to request you to authorize payment of shs 16, 8171042/= as security deposit for the above case to the detailed bank account”.
The account is in the names of Heed Recovery Services Ltd 7255001733 held in Eco bank Rwenzori branch.
Bigirimana in his letter to the Director Criminal Investigations also said that the money was paid on recommendations of Her Worship Dr Agnes Nkonge who issued a court order directing to pay the said money on June 2020. The requisition was originary made by H/W Chemtai Tom and later by Mary Ikit.
He also indicated that H/W Mary Ikit also made a requisition confirming that it was genuine.
Bigirimana also handed over payment evidence where Kasirye Byaruhanga and Co Advocates also bagged USD $48,294 in favor of Entebbe Handling Services.
Attorney General Byaruhanga is a partner in Kasirye, Byaruhanga Co. Advocates which received the money while Entebbe Handling services which manages Entebbe international airport is owned by Sam Kutesa the Foreign Affairs Minister.
Bigirimana’s name featured prominently in the infamous OPM scandal where billions of money was stolen from the office of the prime minister. He was again the chief accounting officer of the said money.
Bigirimana, an apparent renowned corruption activist invited Director of Criminal Investigations (CID) Grace Akullo to investigate this matter.
“I received communication from the permanent t secretary/secretary to the treasury informing me of a possible fraudulent payment of shs 168147042 to Heed Debt Recovery. This payment was made on recommendation made by the following,” Bigirimana wrote to Akullo.
His letter, we obtained from Police further reads that Dr Agnes Nkonge issued a court order directing the payment on June 4, Mary Ikit requisitioned the payment and attached a receipt dated 26/01/2020 to confirm that the payment was genuine.
Bigirimana further informed Akullo that there was another suspicious payment which was made to Kasirye Byaruhanga and Co. Advocates in favour of Entebbe Handling Services of USD $4829426.
“The payment was again originated by a court order signed by Dr Nkonge. The requisition was originally made by Tom Chemutai and later by Mary Ikit on 16th January 2020,” Bigirimana’s letter reads.
Upon receipt of his letter, AIGP Akullo kicked off investigations into the alleged fraudulent payment with immediate effect.
A source in police says the three judicial officers are being investigated on file CID40/207/2020 in a fraud case.
After getting all the necessary documents that raised the ingredients of fraud from the authoritative whistleblower, police have instituted the investigations to question the implicated judicial officers on how they managed to make orders for immediate transfer of funds to named back accounts without doing the due diligence?
This website has also learnt that Eco Bank managers secretly reversed the payment to Judiciary accounts in Bank of Uganda on learning that police had started investigating the alleged fraudulent payment.
As to why the bank had to act panicky and refund the money if at all the transaction was genuine has been subjected to investigations.
PS Bigirimana didn’t answer our repeated calls to substantiate on the matter.
Judiciary spokesperson Solomon Muyita was not available for a comment as well.