By Sania Babirye
Anti corruption court Justice Lawrence Gidudu has ruled that the former works minister Abraham Byandala and his six co accused have a case to answer in the Mukono- Katosi road saga in which government lost over 24.7 billion shillings in shoddy upgrade work.
According to Justice Gidudu, the Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja proved a pr-mafacie case against the accused after presenting 23 witness.
Justice Gidudu has explained that Byandala and others authored documents and that they must individually explain why the authored them, including the now minister without portfolio explaining to the tax payers why he did not take due diligence before signing off the contract to a fake company costing the nation billions of shillings.
The IGG thorough her attorney Sarah Birungi charged Byandala with Abuse of office , causing government a financial loss and disobedience of her orders to stop the works on the Mukono-katosi -Nyenga road.
She accuses the former works Minister to have defied the order and instead influenced the procurement process and proceeded to sign the contract to an incompetent company ETAW.
In his written submission, Byandala had claimed that he had the mandate to give policy directives as a minister however Justice Gidudu has ruled that Byandala must explain whether in his policy directive, it involved directing UNRA to sign a contract to a ghost company.
Byandala’s co accused include the former Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) officials Berunado Ssebbugga, Joe Ssemugooma, Wilberforce Senjako and Marvin Baryaruha.
These are charged with Abuse of office and negligence of their official duties resulting into the loss and must explain to whom they paid the money to construct the road since EUTAW has never been seen at the site .
Others include city businessman Apolo Senkeeto who has been ordered to defend himself against allegations of theft and obtaining the contentious 24.7 billion shillings by falsely representing himself as the president of ETAW -Uganda, the ghost company.
The last suspect is Isaac Mugote of Housing Finance Bank who has been ordered to explain why he failed to verify the securities presented by ETAW before releasing out the money which securities would have been a fall back position to government after investigations revealed that the company is non-existent.
However Byandala and his co accused maintained their innocence and had asked court to find a case of no answer against them on grounds that prosecution had not adduced sufficient evidence to warrant their defense .
The accused are facing 24 counts of abuse of office,disobedience of lawful orders,influence and peddling,obtaining money by false pretense and embezzlement among others.
According to the IGG,on the 14th of November 2013 Byandala ordered the signing of a contract between UNRA and Etawu, a construction company before due date for construction and upgrading of the road leading to the loss of 24.7 billion shillings to a company that was not qualified.
Streets in Kampala’s central business district (CBD) are bustling with activities despite public anxiety and heavy deployment over the upcoming presidential age limit debate in parliament.
With the deployment of police and the military in several strategic locations, speculation was rife that people would keep off the Central Business District in anticipation of demonstrations over the proposed move to remove Article 102(b) of the Constitution.
The motion for the amendment of the Article, which caps the presidential age at 75, is expected today after a failed attempt last Thursday. Amid the anxiety, various political groups and civil society organizations are mobilizing supporters to come out and challenge the planned amendment.
Last week, when the matter was expected in parliament, police engaged demonstrators in running battles, paralyzing business in several areas. But shops in Kampala are all open with business going on normally. Taxis and other motorists are also operating normally.
Jacob Okoku, a resident of Kireka, says he had feared to go to the city centre but is surprised with the calmness.
The Constitution Square in the centre of Kampala has been declared out of bounds for unauthorized personnel. The Square, usually a target for demonstrators, is closed to the public with tapes blocking all entrances.
While the police and military are stationed in the middle of the Square, crime preventers are manning the entrances, turning away people. Armored vehicles and fire engines are on the ready, in anticipation of any riotous developments.
Noah Bukenya, a boda-boda cyclist at the Square, told URN that the crime preventers started their operations in the wee hours of the morning.
Anti-riot police is also deployed at the Democratic Party (DP) headquarters at City House. A police patrol pickup full with heavily armed policemen is parked at the entrance to the DP offices as other police men are positioned around the building.
DP coined the anti-age limit removal campaign slogan, Kogikwatako, which has since caught on with different ethnicities coining their own versions.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, says the deployment is in response to, as he put it, “what’s going on in the country”.
City House also houses the offices of the youth wing of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
By Sania Babirye
Mathew Kanyamunyu Muyogoma who is charged with the murder of Kenneth Akena a social worker at Lugogo in Kampala in 2016 has applied for bail for the fourth time.
This is after his three other bail applications were declined with the recent being on the 23rd of August this year when high court judge Yasin Nyanzi ruled that he did not have exceptional circumstances including old age and poor health that are the main conditions for bail to be granted.
In the fresh bail application before high court criminal division, Kanyamunyu still claims that bail is his constitutional right and the notion of presumption of innocence until proved guilty.
When High court Judge Yasin Nyanzi declined to grant him bail he advised him to apply for bail as many times as possible but under a different judge since circumstances which the judge based on to deny him bail have never changed since then.
With this new application, the application will either be heard by justice Wilson Kwesiga or Anglin Ssenoga.
Prosecution states that on the 12th of November 2016 along Jinja High way in Kampala opposite the Uganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA) , with malice a fore thought, Kanyamunyu shot at Kenneth Akena who later died from Norvik hospital in Kampala.
Akena is said to have accidentally scratched Mathew Kanyamunyu’s car but when he got out to apologize Mathew Kanyamunyu who was in the car with his girlfriend allegedly pulled out his missing gun and shot him three times in the stomach.
He died at Norvik Hospital where Kanyamunyu who claims to have been trying to save him as a good Samaritan after he was shot had taken him for medication.
Akena however is said to have left a dying declaration saying he was shot by Kanyamunyu.
By Sania Babirye
The former acting Amir of Nakaserero Mosque sheikh Yahaya Ramathan Mwanje and seven others have been committed to the international crimes division of the high court to be tried over murder and terrorism charges.
This morning senior prosecutors Lillian Omora and Jonathan Muwaganya informed Buganda road court chief magistrate Jamson Kareemani that the Director of Public prosecutions Mike Chibita has directed them to have the accused committed after completion of investigations.
On the 6th of this month Sheikh Mwanje and his first three co accused were charged afresh with Murder, Terrorism and aiding a terror group ADF after the DPP withdrew his first murder charges that Sheikh Mwanje and three others were already being tried in the high court.
The process was to allow state to add four more suspects and slap fresh charges of Murder, Terrorism, and aiding a terror group on all the suspects so that the entire group can be tried together.
The new suspects are part of the 14 people who are also charged with the murder of former police spokesman AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
They include Yusuf Nyanzi, Kalyango Jibril, Balyejusa Noordin and Bruhan Balijusa.
Other suspects include 43 year old bodaboda rider Buyondo Muhammad a resident of Nsanji, 37 year old Sendegeya Abdul Wahab a bodaboda rider in Kyengere Nsanji and a 43 year old business man in Masanafu Sekandi Musa.
According to the new charges Sheikh Mwanje and his co accused with others still at large, on the 26 of November 2016 at Masanafu trading center Rubaga division murdered Major Muhammad Kigundu and his body guard sergeant Stephen Mukasa.
The state further says that the suspects between 2010 and 2017 within the different district in the country aided and abetted terrorism by way of recruitment and rendering support in form of training ADF members .
Meanwhile Nyanzi and Kalyango are separately charged with belonging and confessing to belong to ADF between 2010 and 2012.
The chief magistrate has however bared them from pleading to the new charges since they are capital in nature and only tried and bailed by the high court.
They have all been remanded to Luzira prison until the court will finally set a date for hearing of the case.
Mwanje was arrested in November 2016 and detained at Nalufenya until January 2017 when he was finally charged.
Hundreds of people are homeless in Nyamiyanja and Birere Sub counties in Isingiro district following heavy rains that have been pounding the area since Sunday. The rains have destroyed several homes, several acres of banana plantations and livestock.
The rains also washed away Kishuro and Katanoga bridges and devastated Nyamiyanja gravity water flow scheme. The most affected are Eijugangoma, Nyarwenshama, Twamagondo and Nyakibare in Nyamiyanja Sub County where several crop gardens were destroyed completely.
Joseph Besigye, the LC 3 chairperson, Birere Sub County, says the displaced people have taken refuge in churches and schools. According to Besigye, they are still assessing the magnitude of the destruction before deciding their next course of action.
Jeremiah Kamurali, the Isingiro LC V Chairperson, says they are concerned over the disasters, which he blames on environmental degradation. He says there is need for residents to adopt modern farming methods to avert future challenges.
By Edwin Muhumuza
Civil Society Organizations are rooting for the strengthening of cyber security in a bid to safe guard them- selves from attackers.
Executive Director, Defenders Protection Initiative, Yona Wanjala, said that non-governmental organizations around the world have been a target by state agencies accusing them of terrorism and money laundering a move they say has been as a result of cyber -attacks.
His remarks came during a digital security conference, at the Kampala Serena Hotel ,that brought together several organizations with aim of ensuring digital safety as they run their operations in the country.
NGO Forum Executive Director Richard Ssewakiryanga says work done by non-governmental organizations is too sensitive and therefore the need for digital security to safe guard it.
He adds that there has been break-ins where computers have been stolen leaving the fate of some organizations uncertain, and therefore the need for them(CSO’s) to increase budgets to prioritize Information Communication Technology.
Over the past five years there has been a wave of break-ins into the premises of non-governmental organizations, mostly those specializing in protecting human rights.
Despite the Uganda Police Force saying it has commissioned investigations into most of the incidents, the leaders of the affected organizations say there has hardly been any progress on this front, and not a single report detailing the progress of investigations has been issued.
They accuse the police and the government of being insensitive to the plight of civil society organizations at best, and at worst they say the State could be complicit in the break-ins. The police deny the accusations and say they are actively working to remedy the situation.
By Sania Babirye
The High court in Kampala has dismissed an application that was seeking orders to have the body of the late Ivan Ssemwanga exhumed after he was buried with legal tenders.
On Monday, high court judge Marget Oguli -Oumo declined to grant a concerned citizens Abey Mgugu’s request in which he sued A-plus funeral management that was in charge of the burial and funeral arrangements on grounds that A-plus was not responsible for the supervision and enforcement of respect of currency notes in its contract with the deceased’s family.
Justice Oguli Oumo has also ruled that Mgugu does not have a cause of action against A-plus because it’s not the company that threw money into Ssemwanga’s grave, some thing which would have given rise to this case.
She has further exonerated Bank of Uganda which the petitioner had accused of neglecting its statutory duty to protect currency on grounds that the Bank of Uganda Act gives it no duty to enforce respect of the Ugandan currency and those from other jurisdictions such as the US dollar and the South African Rand that Mgugu claims were also thrown in Ssemwanga’s grave.
Mgugu had petitioned the high court because he wanted Ssemwanga’s grave opened and have the money put back into circulation.
He had accused A-plus funeral service and Bank of Uganda of failing to protect a legal tender by looking on as the youths from the Rich gang threw money into the grave as Ssemwanga was being buried on the 30th of May 2017 at Nakaliro village in Kayunga district.
However Bank of Uganda still has a pending case before Justice Stephen Musota where another concerned citizen Robert Ssenfuka is also seeking Ssemwanga’s body be exhumed and put back all the money that was buried with him into circulation.
Dr. Fred Yiga, the Police Director Interpol and Peace Support Operations has asked Ugandans to get their house maids screened for crimes before employing them.
Dr. Yiga says that that one of the mandates of Interpol, apart from ensuring international and regional cooperation in the fight against trans-national crime, is to reduce domestic crimes in the country.
Dr Yiga was on Sunday speaking on the sidelines of the regional police meeting at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.
He urges Ugandans who intend to secure the services of house maids, or home workers, to approach his directorate to do a thorough criminal screening about them.
This is aimed at ensuring the households are kept in the know what criminal records the maids they plan to employ have. Dr. Yiga says it reduces risks of trusting one’s home and children with maids whose backgrounds they hardly know. The services according to Dr. Yiga are available at a fee of between 50,000 and 60,000 Shillings.
Dr. Yiga says Uganda Police has a criminal database which entails fingerprints of every person that has ever been held as a suspect or criminally charged by police across the country.
He said that once a person brings the intended employees for vetting, police crosschecks with their database and advises the employer accordingly. Dr. Yiga notes that this builds confidence among house maids, or domestic workers in general, to work with one heart once they know police has their details.
Dr. Yiga appealed to Ugandan youth who are yearning for employment abroad to always go through Uganda Police to be able to guide them on genuine companies that handle the businesses. He notes that once Interpol Uganda is used, it becomes easy to also link with other countries through the same organisation.
In 2014, Jolly Tumuhiirwe, a house maid was sentenced to four years in jail after she was captured on video surveillance camera footage torturing a toddler who was one-and-half-years at the time.
Last month, Tumuhiirwe was released about two years and eight months into her four-year sentence. The Uganda Prisons officials said her sentence attracted remission, a reduced verdict considered for disciplined and hardworking inmates.