The Anti-Corruption Court on Monday sentenced two Uganda ex-Finance ministry officials, who were arrested for soliciting a bribe from an investor in 2017, to two years in prison, also banned them from holding public office for 10 years after serving their jail term.
Former principal finance officer John Charles Ogol and Geoffrey Turyamuhika, alias Tumwine, a senior economist, were convicted of corruption for receiving a gratification of $50,000 (about Shs186m) from one Hassan Sserunjogi on March 27, 2017.
According to a local media, The Monitor, the convicts received the money to expedite documentation for financing the construction of a power substation and transmission line at Osukuru Phosphate project in Tororo District.
Ogol and Turyamuhika were also fined Shs4.8m each. The judge reasoned that the punishments were aimed at balancing the efforts of the state to fight corruption and the hardships the dependants would have when the convicts are incarcerated.
“I am inclined to impose a sentence that would communicate the message that corruption if proven in this court would attract punishment. At the same time, the sentence would not be such as to keep away the convicts from supporting their families for too long considering that what they had received as a bribe was seized and exhibited in court,” the trial judge Lawrence Gidudu ruled.
“The court would not impose a sentence that is laughable to the extent that it would encourage persons to commit the same crime hoping that they would walk in and out even after being convicted without being scratched as a constant reminder that corruption is bad,” he added.
The court also ordered that the money exhibited in court be returned to State House Comptroller while the convicts be given their bail money of Shs8m and their handheld phones be returned to them.
Ogol, 59, and Turyamuhika, 38, were technical officers at the Finance ministry responsible for handling issues concerning investors.