Accused OPM and UHRC staff appear before the Anticorruption court on fraud and corruption related charges
Four OPM Officials who are alleged to have colluded to commit a fraudulent practice; by allegedly inflating prices of food meant for the vulnerable poor under the COVID-19 food relief program; have appeared before the Anticorruption court in Kololo to answer 24 counts that include; Abuse of Office, fraudulent false accounting and Corruption.
However, they have not taken plea before the presiding Grade One Magistrate Sarah Namusobya because the issue of whether their bail granted by Buganda road court in April this year will be extended by the trial court (Anticorruption court) or they have to apply afresh, since Buganda road court has no powers to try them; rather it only informed them of the charges they were facing due to then prevailing circumstances of the COVID-19 Nationwide Lockdown.
On the 8th of July, the Director of Public Prosecution DPP amended charges against them and they were informed by Buganda road court Magistrate Doreen Karungi of how their case file was going to be transferred to the Anticorruption court in Kololo which has Jurisdiction to try them.
Through their Lawyers led by McDusman Kabega they have now applied to come back tomorrow 28th/July/2020 with their sureties; which request Magistrate Namusobya has allowed and ordered them to appear at 10:30prompt.
The accused persons include Permanent Secretary Guwatudde Christine Kintu together with the Assistant Commissioner (Head of Procurement and Disposal Unit) Lutimba Kyeyune Fred who are facing more charges in which its alleged that in abuse of the authority of their respective offices; they prepared and issued an award letter to various companies to supply maize, beans, milk, sugar amounting to 32.340.000.000 billion Shs. in total disregard of the procurement procedure
They allegedly committed the Offence between 31st/March and 9th/April/2020 at OPM offices along Sir Apollo Kaggwa road from where Lutimba Kyeyune Fred is further alleged to have neglected to perform his duty of advising the contracts committee on procurement procedures which omission amounted to Corruption.
The other accused persons include the Under Secretary-Joel Wanjala and the Commissioner in charge of relief Disaster Preparedness and Head of the Covid 19 Relief Management- Martin Owor.
Meanwhile the trial of six officials from Uganda Human Rights Commission including Secretary Patrick Mabiiho Nyakana who accused of Abuse of Office and embezzlement of 100M Shs by irregularly requisitioning, approving and transferring the said money to personal accounts; has started before Anticorruption court Judge Lawrence Gidudu.
Senior State Attorney Baine Stanley informed court they have witnesses present in court including Commissioner Mulumba Meddy who were going to prove the activities for which the said money was approved were not in the work plan and budget as provided by releases of JLOS an institution that supports government.
They said money was directly withdrawn from Bank of Uganda via the UHRC account and the accused persons have never accounted for the stolen money.
The accused persons were charged last year in July, they have since denied the allegation and are out on bail.
They were all present in court and are alleged to have committed the offence in November, 2018 while in performance of their respective offices in Kampala, Jinja and Hoima districts respectively.