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I apologise for using govt vehicles for personal use – senior official

by Editorial Team
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By Michael Odeng 

A senior government official from the Ministry of Health has told the Leadership Code Tribunal members that he will never use public property for personal use.

“I concede and regret my actions. I committed the offence in error, but it will never happen again and I seek for forgiveness,” he pleaded.

James Tukahirwa, a senior assistant secretary/transport officer, attached to the Ministry of Health, Tuesday asked for forgiveness after admitting to using two motor vehicles for the ministry to ferry construction material for his sites in Kyegegwa and Kazo districts, respectively.

The five-member tribunal was led by Dr. Roselyn Karugonjo Segawa. Others on the panel were Asuman Kiyingi, the tribunal’s deputy chairperson and members Joyce Nalunga Birimumaaso, Didas Bakunzi Mufasha and Jane Okelowange.

Meanwhile, the official accepted to pay sh22.5m for damages caused to the two trucks and through his lawyer, Fredrick Ruhindi, requested a demotion or caution.

But the supervisor asset recovery unit in the Inspectorate of Government (IG) directorate of legal affairs, Daniel Achato, insists that Tukahirwa should be dismissed from office.

The IG lawyer wants the senior health official dismissed in accordance to Section 12 (b) of the Leadership Code Act, 2002 for continuously abusing public property.

According to Achato, Tukahirwa used the vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic to ferry personal construction materials for his buildings, worth billions of shillings.

He argues that his acts tantamount to abuse of public property and resulted in two vehicles, meant for COVID-19 response, getting damaged. 

Achato also wants Tukahirwa to pay costs of the matter.

The members sit at the entity’s tribunal at Padre Pio House in Kampala. The tribunal, which has powers of the High Court, was established to clamp down the rising level of non-compliance with the Leadership Code Act by government officials.

The leadership code was recently amended to include all public officials. Previously, the law only affected senior positions in public service, which analysts said had created a legal loophole exploited by lower carder officials to amass illicit wealth.  

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