More than 1,000 former employees of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) have started getting their terminal benefits after years of waiting for conclusion of a long-running suit they brought against government.
The payments are coming through the second tranche totalling Shs 14 billion out of the Shs 39bn total benefits claim. Sources told The Observer this week that the Shs 14bn was released by Bank of Uganda last August but it has not been easy to distribute it because of disagreements, which led to the formation of a ten-man distributing committee.
During the proceedings at High court (Anti-Corruption division) before Judge Lawrence Gidudu, it was submitted that out of the over 1,000 beneficiaries, only 117 were paid in the first batch and Shs 4.9bn swindled.
After the first Shs 10bn was mishandled, the inspector general of government intervened by stopping further payment. The officers Jamal Kitandwe, one Kiwanuka and Bernald Kamugisha, among others were in 2016 jointly charged with embezzling Shs 4.9bn which was part of the first payment between June 18, 2014 and January 2015.
In his judgement, Gidudu noted that he was certain the trio did not steal the money alone but added that he could not distribute the burden of carrying the cross to others because the convicts opted not to expose their co-conspirators.
“I, therefore, sentence each of the accused to seven years imprisonment on top of refunding Shs 2.5bn embezzled…,” Gidudu ruled.
Prosecution has been contending that the convicts, being directors and officers of a company called Uganda Veterans Association, received Shs 10bn in form of a first installment on behalf of their fellow workers who had been retrenched between 1992 and 1993.
Though court had awarded the former employees Shs 72.4bn, government negotiated for a reduction.