The Anti-Corruption Court convicted Achimo Ruth Etibot, the former University Secretary who also serves as Soroti University’s Accounting Officer, on two counts of abuse of office, two counts of diversion of public resources, one count of fraudulent false accounting, and one count of false accounting by a public officer.
According to Jacqueline Okui, the PRO DPP’s office, Achimo was charged alongside Obeele Edward, the University Bursar, who pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a fine. Achimo was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the Anti-Corruption court yesterday 6th April 2023.
She eventually used her position as Accounting Officer to pay the said law firm Ug. Shs. 1,025,265,000 in legal fees over a three-month period, diverting funds from capital development because legal services were not budgeted for in the F/Y 2017/2018 budget. She also diverted funds from capital development to pay for staff allowances and other non-current expenditures.
As a result of her activities, payments for capital development projects were delayed, and the University was penalised by the contractors for failing to make payments within the agreed-upon timescales.
Despite spending capital development money on non-recurring activities, Achimo represented in progress reports that all capital development funds had been spent on capital development projects, which was untrue. which the funds were used were hidden.
Justice Tibulya Margaret sentenced the convict to 3 years in Count I, 3 years in Count II, 5 years in Count III, 5 years in Count IV, 3 years in Count V, and 1 year in Count VI. The trial judge stated that the convict’s actions were irregular and with blatant impunity, which no amount of explanation could sanitize, and thus only an imprisonment term was appropriate.