On Tuesday, they appeared in the High Court before Justice Margaret Tibulya, weeks after they had been sent there for trial by the Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Sarah Namusobya who didn't have jurisdictions to try them.
The Accused OPM Officials Appearing Before the Anti Corruption Court in Kampala on Tuesday.
The trial of four interdicted officials in the Office of the
Prime Minister on charges of abuse of office has commenced at the High
Court Anti-Corruption Division.
The officials are the permanent secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu, Accountant
Joel Wanjala, Assistant Commissioner for procurement Fred Lutimba and
Commissioner for Disaster Management Martin Owor .
On Tuesday, they appeared in the High Court before Justice Margaret Tibulya, weeks after they had been
sent there for trial by the Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Sarah
Namusobya who didn't have jurisdictions to try them.
The trial process started with appointing three court
assessors who included Clemensia Nabudde, Noah Nimrod Wambuzi and Rehema
The accused are charged with 24 offences related to abuse of office and false accounting.
It is alleged that the accused persons did acts prejudicial to their
employer when they prepared and issued false entries in award letters to
several companies to supply COVID-19 relief items such as maize and milk worth
more than 32 billion Shillings in total disregard of the procurement
The companies that were contracted between March 31 and April 8, 2020, include
Aponye Uganda Limited which was given 19 billion Shillings to supply
several kilograms of maize, Mandela Millers Limited which was given 9 Billion
Shillings and Afro Kai Limited which was paid 2 billion shillings.
The other companies include Mehta Group C/o SCOUL was given 900
million, Operation Wealth Creation which was paid 450 million, Pearl Dairy Farmers
Limited with a bill of 525 million shillings, Nmacks Investments Limited 225
million shillings and Global Centre Limited 240 million shillings.
It is also alleged that the accused persons used their offices to
defraud government after making false entries of the said award letters to the
companies to supply relief items purporting that the monies had been allocated
by the OPM contracts committee which was false.
According to the summary of the evidence the accused persons started the
procurement process four days towards the official announcement by the
President Yoweri Museveni.
The public announcement was to procure and distribute
food to the Vulnerable Urban Poor in Kampala, Wakiso Mukono and Mbale districts
who had been badly affected by the COVID-19 Nation -Wide Lockdown.
As a result, Guwatudde signed the award letters
to suppliers to distribute the required food items without authorization from
the accounting officer also her co-accused Joel Wanjala.
It also indicates that the suppliers were contacted by John
Martin Owor through Telephone Calls and Whatsapp messages.
The DPP's evidence also shows that the procurement didn't go
through any bidding process to select the suitable companies to suppliers; and
neither was there a market survey to establish the actual cost of the maize,
beans, sugar and powdered milk that was to be supplied.
As such, the State alleges that this exposed consumers to poor quality
food and government at risk of paying for sub-standard items since most of
the companies were found not to be qualified.
However, evidence also indicates that after a renegotiation with the
Suppliers who had been informed by the accused persons to supply a kilogram
of beans at shillings 5,000 and Maize at 3,000 Shillings more than 4.5 billion
worth taxpayers money was saved.
The court has now ordered that the prosecution discloses to the accused persons
and their lawyers including Evans Ochieng, Andrew Mumpenje, Medard Lubega
Sseggona and MacDusman Kabega the evidence they intend to use against their
The trial is scheduled to start on March 15th to