Byandala has a case to answer says Anti-corruption court

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.

Kihika expected in Court today

By Sania Babirye

Former UBC managing Director Paul Kihika is today expected to appear before Nakawa magistrate court for  his second bail application.

Last week grade one Magistrate Christine Nantege remanded him back to Luzira prison despite being granted bail by anti corruption court because the magistrate court charged him with giving false information to police.

He  pleaded not guilty to one count of giving false information and was denied bail because he did not have substantial sureties

Prosecution  States that Kihika  allegedly reported a case of theft  of  his mobile phone at Jinja road police station while falsely accusing the head of media crimes in police Emmanuel Mbonimpa to have stolen it;  yet later it was revealed that the officer had just confiscated this phone for purposes of investigations.

Kihika is currently being tried by the anti corruption court for  embezzlement and causing a 33.6 million  shillings loss to UBC in facilitating  a non-existent official trip to China.

Traffic officer arrested over viral bribe video

Fred Edwaru, a senior traffic police officer attached to Kole Central Police Station in the North Kyoga Region is in trouble for bribery. Edwaru was picked up over the weekend on the directives of Dr. Steven Kasiima, the Director Traffic and Road Safety in Uganda Police Force.
Trouble for Edwaru started after he was captured in a video, which went viral on social media receiving a bribe from a truck driver along Lira – Kamdini highway. In the video, the officer is seen engaging the truck driver, before he handed him money, which he tucked away into his pockets and allowed him to proceed with his journey.
The video is believed to have been taken by a traveler who was watching the interaction between the officer and truck driver from a distance. In a statement, Dr. Kasiima, says Edwaru will appear before the Police Disciplinary Committee to answer for his action.
He commends the public for their vigilance on traffic police officers who extort money from road users, adding that the public vigilance has greatly supplemented the efforts of the traffic alert squad that was established in November 2014 to address such cases.
He discloses that about 700 traffic officers have been arrested and sanctioned since the inception of the Traffic Alert Squad. Dr. Kasiima encourages road users to continue exposing such vice so that appropriate action is taken.
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Court sets date for Hearing of Kabafunzanki trial

By Sania Babirye

High court judge Margret Tibulya has been assigned to hear the corruption case against  State Minister for labor  Herbert Kabafunzaki and two others.

These are charged with two counts of  conspiring to solicit for a 15 million bribe from the Proprietor of Aya group of companies Mohammad Hamid.

On the 28th of June Anti corruption court chief magistrate Agnes Alum committed Kabafuzanki  alongside his political aid Mugabo Brian and a relative Lubowa Bruce for trial in the high court.

This is after state prosecutor Barbara Kawuma informed court that the DPP had opted  for the the three to be tried by a judge saying a judge was in better position to try the case due  due to the circumustances of how  the  case was commited and the people involved it.

Anti corruption court Deputy Registrar Susan Kanyange has set the 18th of July as the date when hearing of the case will commence and ordered Kabafunzaki
together and his co accused  to appear in court for trial

Prosecution states  that between the 6th and the 8th April 20217 at Serena Hotel in Kampala district,  Kabafunzaki directly solicited and accepted  a 5 million shillings Bribe from an Indian Investor Muhammed Muhammed Hamid,  the chairman Aya group of companies as an inducument to clear him of sexual harrasment allegations levied against him by his former employee.

Some of the evidence that the DPP intends to adduce before court include a CCTV footage from Serena hotel that shows the interaction where the minister received  the alleged five million bribe in a khaki brown envelope from the Aya  boss and later giving it to his political assistant for counting who  later hid the money behind the curtains when police came to arrest them.

Anti corruption Court convicts Kazinda and three others

By Babirye Sania

Anti corruption Judge Lawrence  Gidudu has convicted the   former Principle Accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Kazinda and 3 others of  fraud and causing  government a 316 billion loss  in fueling  non existence vehicles under  the  office  of the  prime minister in 2010.

Kazinda has been found guilty  alongside the service stations manager Total Ntinda Katumwa Hussein, Beatrice Kezabu the former  clerk  in the OPM office  and Shamim Madembe who owns the  petrol  station.

These were facing  5counts including Conspiracy to defraud, Embezzlement, fraudulent false accounting, forgery and uttering false documents.

Justice Gidudu found Beatrice Kezabu guilty  of forgery and false accounting together with her co accused.

The judge has however expressed dismay to why  commissioner Martin Owol who was Kezabu’s boss despite admitting of having erred was never charged  but instead brought in as a prosecution  witnesses.

According to Prosecution the money in question was meant to buy 5,000 liters of fuel for vehicles transporting relief food to disaster victims, in various districts, in  2010 but that Kazinda and Kezaabu allegedly made false entries claiming that Total Ntinda Service Station had supplied fuel to the Prime Minister’s Office whereas not.

In June/2013 Kazinda was first convicted by the same court of forging then Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana’s signature and sentenced to 5years which he completed in November 2016 but is still in Luzira prison because of these pending cases.

Anti corruption court to give verdict on Kazinda’s case

By Sania Babirye

Anti corruption Judge Lawrence  Gidudu is today expected deliver his judgement  where   former Principle Accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Kazinda and 3 others are charged with fraud and causing  government a 316 billion loss  in fueling  non existence vehicles under  the  office  of the  prime minister in 2010.

Kazinda is charged alongside the service stations manager Caltex Ntinda Katumwa Hussein, Beatrice Kezabu the former  clerk  in the OPM office  and Shamim Madembe who owns the  petrol  station.

These are charged with  5counts including Conspiracy to defraud, Embezzlement, fraudulent false accounting, forgery and uttering false documents.

According to Prosecution the money in question was meant to buy 5,000 liters of fuel for vehicles transporting relief food to disaster victims, in various districts, in  2010 but that Kazinda and Kezaabu allegedly made false entries claiming that Caltex Ntinda Service Station had supplied fuel to the Prime Minister’s Office whereas not.

In June/2013 Kazinda was first convicted by the same court of forging then Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana’s signature and sentenced to 5years which he completed in November 2016 but is still in Luzira prison because of these pending cases.

Even if Kazinda is set free on this case he will still remain I’m Luzira prison because he still has another case pending trial were he is  jointly charged with officials from the Ministry of finance  for allegedly misappropriating 21billion shillings worth PRDP funds meant to rehabilitate the war torn Northern Uganda.

Last month a court assessor asked court to acquit Kazinda and the service  stations  manger  Caltex Ntinda Katumwa Hussein, saying they are  not guilty of the offenses in which government lost 316 billion shillings in fueling non existence vehicles under the office of the prime minister.

Okech Vicent Ferrer told court that prosecution had failed to adduce evidence to prove that Kazinda did approve the payment of the forged fuel vouchers, which money he would later receive from Caltex Ntinda Service Station Manager Katumwa Hussein.

The assessor  said that all alleged evidence that prosecution brought in court was just here say since prosecution also failed to bring any witness to pin Katumwa over the charges.

However the assessor advised court to instead convict the other two accused including Beatrice Kezaabu a Clerk in OPM on grounds that she was responsible for filling fuel orders of non existent motor vehicles in which government lost  316million shillings.

The other person is the owner of the said Petrol Station Shamim Masembe who denied ever sending Money to Kazinda through her manager Katumwa when she was cross examined.

Court sets 28th June for hearing of Kabafunzaki’s case

By Sania Babirye

Anti corruption court has set the 28th of June to commence hearing a case in which  State Minister for labor  Herbert Kabafunzaki and two others are charged with corruption.

This is after state prosecutor  Maxim Elizooba informed chief magistrate Agnes Alumu  that investigations into the case are complete.

The magistrate   has now ordered  prosecution to avail Kabafunzaki’s lawyers led by David Balondemu all the evidence it intends to rely on before trial starts.

Hon.Kabafuzanki is charged alongside his political aid Mugabo Brian and a one Lubowa Bruce.

They are charged with with two counts of conspiring to solicit for a 15 million bribe from the Proprietor of Aya group of companies Mohammad Hamid.

Prosecution states  that between the 6th and the 8th April 20217 at Serena Hotel in Kampala district,  Kabafunzaki directly solicited and accepted  a 5 million shillings Bribe from an Indian Investor Muhammed Muhammed Hamid,  the chairman Aya group of companies as an inducement to clear him of sexual harassment allegations levied against him by his former employee.

Mao blames high sugar prices on corrupt government officials

By Robert Segawa
Democratic Party president Norbert Mao has accused the government of being behind the ongoing country wide hiked sugar prices. He says government officials are keeping sugar in their stores.
In a weekly press conference at the party headquarters in Kampala Mao has tasked  trade  Minister Amelia Kyambande to lead the opening of the sugar store campaigns as a short term solution. He adds that a  massive tax reform should be carried out to avoid recurrence of the shortage.
Mao observes that not only sugar prices have been hiked but also prices of other essential commodities like matooke, fuel, maize flour, and drugs which he  blames on high taxes imposed by the regime corrupt officials
It will be recalled that the minister last week announced the government’s directive to sugar manufacturers not to sell sugar beyond five thousand Ugandan shillings country wide.

Kabafunzaki in fresh trouble over detained Korean investor

By Robert Segawa
Following his arrest for receiving bribe worth Shs 5 million cash from Muhammed Hamid of Aya group, state minister for labor Hon Herbert Kabafunzaki is in trouble again.
The south Korean embassy has written to the permanent secretary ministry of foreign affairs seeking for investigations into the conduct of Kabafunzaki.
According to a letter dated April 24, the Kabafunzaki reportedly arrested an investor identified as WOO Junghoon  who had refused to give him a US Dollar  5000 bribe and detained him at CPS in Kampala for 5 hours.
It is said that Kabafunzaki ordered police officers not to release the investor not until the said bribe had been paid.It is said that it took the intervention of the South Korean embassy together with lawyers to ensure that the investor is released.
 The embassy in their letter copied to the IGP say the behavior of the junior  minister was wanting and should be investigated.

Court grants minister Kabafunzaki bail

By Sania Babirye

Anti corruption court chief magistrate Agnes Alum has granted a five million cash bail to state Minister for Labour , Employment and Industrial relations Herbert Kabanfunzaki.

The  state minister has also been ordered to deposit his passport and two land titles that he owns with his wife  in court until the case is dispossed.

The chief magistrate ruled that the minister had no criminal charges pending  against him and that his surities were substantial.

The state had asked court to deny Hon.Kabafunzaki bail on grounds that he is likely to abscond once released and due to his status as an MP and state minister he might use it to interfere with witnesses.

However the magistrate dismissed  their application saying court can not deny him bail on mere speculation.

On Tuesday, the minister pleaded not guilty to corruption and bribery charges slapped against him by state.
Through his lawyer Kenneth Muhangi Hon.Kabafuzaki sought bail on grounds of bail being his constitutional right to apply for bail, has a fixed place of aboard in Kanyanya cell and that he will not interfere with state witnesses.
The state minister also informed court that he was  the soul bread winner of his family including his four children who are all below the age of 18, he is a law abiding citizen who will not abscond once released and has substantial sureties.
The minister presented five sureties including his wife Doreen KABAFUNZAKI, his brother Charles Mutabazi and his friend Dr.Eryabu Byamukama a lecturer at Kampala international university.

Kabafunzaki was charged on Tuesday  with his political aid  Brain Mugabo who pleaded guilty to have hid the 5 million the minister received from Mohammed Hamid and an interior designer Bruce Lubowa who also pleaded not guilty to the charges of  conspiring  to solicit a 15 million shillings Bribe.

Prosecution states  that between the 6th and the 8th April 20217 at Serena Hotel in Kampala district,  Kabafunzaki directly solicited and accepted  a 5 million shillings Bribe from an Indian Investor Muhammed Muhammed Hamid,  the chairman Aya group of companies as an inducument to clear him of sexual harrasment allegations levied against him by his former employee.

Mugabo was separately charged with being an accessory after being convicted on his own plea for a linear punishment.

The minister was arrested on Saturday last week at Serena Hotel where he allegedly corned by State house operatives receiving the said bribe.