Location Of Theft in AQUA BLUE
URL Of Linked Article In STEEL BLUE or GREEN
Full Content Of Article In BLACK
Theft Description In Body Of Article in RED

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Key data stolen from main government registry

By Yasiin Mugerwa  (email the author)

Posted Wednesday, November 10 2010 at 00:00
A substantial amount of official data, including some classified documents on deaths, births and companies has been stolen in what appears to be an “inside job” involving officials in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard yesterday that 28 computers at Uganda Registration Services Bureau, formerly known as the Registrar General’s department, were vandalized. “Our department of Uganda Registration Services Bureau housed on floors four, five and six of Amamu House, George Street, has experienced five nasty incidents of computer vandalism and robbery,” Mr Ernest Bafaki, the ministry undersecretary said.
“A total of 28 computers located in sections of Company Registry, Trademarks and Intellectual Property Registry, births and deaths, have been affected, thus interrupting service delivery here at home and to those overseas.”
While MPs have asked the police to investigate the motive, losing such critical data particularly on the company registry and trademarks is likely to cause confusion and duplicity among company owners in the country - leading to legal battles.
Ministry of Justice officials led by their new accounting officer and Acting Solicitor General, Ms Harriet Lwabi, were in PAC to answer audit queries for the years 2007/8 and 2009/10.
After the meeting, MPs led by Tom Kazibwe (Ntenjeru South) told reporters that although officials suspected to have stolen the government data were known, no arrests have been made. “This data was stolen between March 2007 and February 2009 and up-to-date it has never been recovered,” Mr Kazibwe said.
“Officials in the Ministry of Justice know these thieves but kept quite even as the Auditor General demanded details of the missing data. We have asked our CID to open fresh investigations into this matter and take statement from staff at the URSB and all the people involved.” But Mr Bafaki and Ms Lwabi told the Committee that a complaint about the stolen data was lodged with the CID Director Edward Ochom by the Acting Registrar General, Mr Biseroko Kyomuhendo.
Slow progress 
“We have reported this matter to police. It’s not only Ministry of Justice, even vital information from Uganda Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Lands was also stolen,” Ms Lwabi said. She decried the slow system, saying despite reporting all the incidents to the police, not a single case has been concluded.
Meanwhile, the Committee has ordered Ministry of Justice to provide details of Shs55.5 billion owed to various individuals in court awards by Friday. The officials were also questioned on circumstances under which they withdrew Shs3 billion from on account without authority.
Officials in the Ministry have also failed to account for more than Shs400 million they took as advances. Ms Lwabi, however, apologised for the anomaly and promised to provide the accountability on Friday.

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