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Former UNBS Executive Director Livingstone Ebiru Sees Bribery Charges Withdrawn by IGG

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Former UNBS Executive Director Livingstone Ebiru Sees Bribery Charges Withdrawn by IGG
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The Inspector General of Government, Betty Kamya, has decided to withdraw the bribery charges against the former Executive Director of the Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS), David Livingstone Ebiru.

Ebiru had been facing allegations of offering a bribe or gratification to Charles Masekuura, the UNBS board chairperson, purportedly between October and December 2022. The alleged bribe was reportedly part of an effort to retain his position as the UNBS Executive Director.

However, a letter authored by the Deputy IGG, Dr. Patricia Achan Okiria, has been observed by URN. The letter conveys the government’s disinterest in pursuing the case. Addressed to the trial Magistrate and High Court Anti-Corruption Division, it states, “Take notice that the Government of Uganda intends that the proceedings against Livingstone Ebiru shall not continue,” without providing specific reasons for the withdrawal.

Although the withdrawal letter has been officially documented in court records, Ebiru is set to be formally discharged on October 31, 2023, when the case is scheduled to return for mention before the trial Chief Magistrate, Joan Aciro.

The charges against Ebiru have been withdrawn without his physical appearance in court. He was initially arrested and brought to court premises on July 26, 2023, then taken back to IGG/police custody, released under circumstances not fully disclosed.

Ebiru was required by the court to appear and face charges through criminal summons, yet he did not make an appearance. A warrant of arrest had been issued against him by the IGG. However, upon his brief custody in court cells, he was returned to the IGG/police office, leading to the issuance of a criminal summons.

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Following these events, his lawyers submitted a case to the High Court, challenging the trial’s legality. Ebiru had sought an injunction against the IGG and their representatives from instituting charges and compensation from the government for violating his rights.

However, the Anti-Corruption High Court Division Judge, Lady Justice Jane Kajuga, on September 20, 2023, dismissed Ebiru’s application, stating the court lacked jurisdiction and thereby allowing the withdrawn charges to proceed.

Commenting on the withdrawal of charges, Ebiru’s legal team, led by Silas Kahima Mugabi, expressed little surprise, deeming the charges as baseless and vindictive from the outset.

“From day one, the charges were a nonstarter, borne out of malice and without proper investigations being done, so it’s not surprising they have been withdrawn,” Mugabi told Uganda Radio Network.

Previously, Ebiru had confessed to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that he had bribed the UNBS Board Chair, Charles Musekura, with one hundred million shillings. Later, he retracted the statement, claiming it was made out of anger and denied ever offering a bribe.

Ebiru was dismissed from his position in August following an investigation by a parliamentary probe and the Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS) Board.

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