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    DP Criticizes Presidential Pardon of Pension Thief Lwamafa

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    DP Criticizes Presidential Pardon of Pension Thief Lwamafa
    • August 29, 2023 • 11 months ago

    The Opposition Democratic Party (DP) has voiced strong objections to the recent presidential pardon granted to former Permanent Secretary, Jimmy Lwamafa, asserting that his offense inflicted significant suffering on Ugandans. The pardon has sparked controversy, with critics, including Uganda Young Democrats (UYD), decrying the decision's implications for the nation.

    Uganda Young Democrats president, Ismail Kirya, held a press conference on Tuesday, expressing the party's reservations about the pardon. Kirya contended that Lwamafa's actions, which led to the loss of billions of shillings, warranted no clemency, and his release sets a troublesome precedent for the country.

    "Pardoning inmates is commendable, but the selection of inmates for such mercy is vital," Kirya stated.

    He questioned the justification for pardoning Lwamafa, who was convicted of embezzling pension funds, when other political prisoners serving lighter sentences remain overlooked.

    Kirya highlighted the potential consequences of this decision, emphasizing that the pardon could inadvertently encourage others to misappropriate government funds in the hope of receiving similar clemency. He argued that the administration's action opened the floodgates for further financial misconduct within the civil service.

    "The message is that if you steal government funds, you might get pardoned," Kirya warned.

    He called for a focus on reinforcing strict consequences for public fund embezzlement instead. Uganda Prisons spokesperson, Frank Baine, cited humanitarian and health reasons as the basis for Lwamafa's pardon. Baine explained that Lwamafa's deteriorating health and advanced age factored into the decision.

    Addressing these concerns, Kirya questioned the rationale behind singling out Lwamafa for mercy, emphasizing that there are other elderly inmates who might be equally deserving of pardon.

    At the time of his pardon, Lwamafa was serving concurrent seven and nine-year sentences stemming from separate pension scam cases, which collectively resulted in the theft of over shs165 billion. His release was part of a broader initiative that saw 200 prisoners granted clemency on humanitarian grounds.

    The Uganda Prisons spokesperson elaborated on the criteria for the pardons, stating that the committee on prerogative of mercy recommended 1800 prisoners for potential release. Ultimately, 200 inmates were chosen for presidential pardon after careful assessment.

    The DP, echoing concerns voiced by UYD, called for a reconsideration of the presidential pardon system and appealed to President Museveni to also consider releasing political prisoners.

    As the debate over Lwamafa's pardon continues, the political landscape in Uganda remains abuzz with discussions on the implications of extending clemency to individuals convicted of financial misconduct, raising broader questions about accountability and justice in the country.

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