Murder and theft charges lodged against church leaders in Kinkiizi found to be “baseless”

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The Rt. Rev. Dan Zoreka

Investigations have cleared both sides of the warring factions within the Diocese of Kinkiizi of criminal misconduct. Last December the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity and the Church of the Province of Uganda announced there was no truth to the claims that Rt. Rev. Dan Zoreka had embezzled funds. This month police closed their investigation into allegations the archdeacon of Kihihi Archdeaconry, the Ven. Justus Tibesigwa, had hired an assassin to kill Bishop Zoreka.

In late 2019 the former Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, received two petitions from members of the diocese accusing Bishop Zoreka of embezzling government development funds, adultery, and falsifying his educational credentials. 

In December 2019 Archdeacon Tibesigwa and his wife Desire were arrested on charges that they had conspired with the bishop’s maid to poison him. The maid had been caught with a potion that she allegedly was trying to put into the bishop’s food. When questioned, she said she had been given the drug by the archdeacon’s wife.

Archdeacon Tibesigwa was suspended by the bishop on 26 Dec 2019 for misconduct, accused of conducting a wedding outside of church grounds, and for soliciting funds from overseas donors in the name of the diocese, but then misappropriating the funds.

On 2 Jan 2020, the bishop and archdeacon were brought to the Archbishop’s Palace in Kampala to resolve the dispute. Archbishop Ntagali asked members of the diocese to remain calm as the police and the church investigated the claims.

On 22 January 2021 a report from the Ugandan CID said the potion taken from the maid was found to be harmless. The Ugandan press further reported the maid confessed to having accepted a bribe to claim she had been given the potion by the archdeacon’s wife.

Last December the Assistant Commission of the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity Justus Rubarema reported the allegations of misconduct raised against the bishop were “baseless”.  He reported the diocese was able to account for all funds and that there was no evidence of wrong-doing.

Peace has not returned to the divided diocese, however as Bishop Zoreka remains unsatisfied with the police investigation. He told reporters the toxicology test was a sham. “All contents are falsified. Investigations were done and to the best of our knowledge, the contents there are not what the witnesses stated. What is there is challengeable,” he said.