Former Uganda Red Cross boss jailed for 7 years for embezzlement

The Anti-Corruption court in Kampala has sentenced Richard Michael Nataka, the former secretary general of the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) to 7 years in jail for embezzling more than Shs 1 billion.

Court presided over by grade one magistrate Moses Nabende handed Nataka the sentence after finding him guilty on four charges of embezzlement, causing financial loss, abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud.

He embezzled more than Shs 1.2 billion belonging to URCS between February 1, 2013 and September 30 2013 in Kampala when he irregularly approved and made payments to Buki Enterprises Limited for construction work at the African Youth Leadership and Training Centre (Namakwa).

Nataka signed duplicate contracts in favour of Buki Enterprise, Jensani construction and Saki Technical Services Limited for the execution of the said works. Nataka who was previously facing trial with two others; Geoffrey Serunjogi and Geoffrey Weponde, the deputy director for finance at Uganda Red Cross Society was found guilty based on evidence from seven prosecution witnesses and his co-accused were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence to pin them.

“The imprisonment sentences shall be non-cumulative. It is further ordered that the accused shall compensate Uganda shillings 1,236, 917,932 to Uganda Red Cross Society,” said Nabende.

Nataka has also been barred from holding a public office for a period of ten years as required under the Anti-Corruption Act.

“This is to authorize and require you the said superintendent to receive the said Nataka Richard Michael into your custody in the said prison together with the warrant and there carry out the aforementioned sentence into execution according to law,” reads the warrant of commitment from Nabende to the superintendent of Prisons Murchison Bay Prison.

In 2018, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdrew charges of abuse of office against Nataka after he had been accused of allowing a vehicle Tundra type that belonged to an individual to go through the same container of Uganda Red Cross Society so that it doesn’t pay taxes to Uganda Revenue Authority.

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