Anti-corruption court Judge Lawrence Gidudu ordered former works Minister Abraham Byandala to defend himself against allegations of causing government a 24.7 billion shillings loss in shoddy works on the Mukono- Katosi-Nyenga road in 2013.
Justice Gidudu made the order this morning after perusing the evidence of 23 witnesses adduced by the IGG Irene Mulyagonja and found out that she has made out a pre-mafacie case to answer against Byandala who must offer an explanation to the nation why he never took due diligence before signing to award the contract to upgrade the said road to a fake company.
The IGG through her attorney Sarah Birungi charged Byandala with Abuse of office, causing government a financial loss and disobedience of her orders that directed that works on the Mukono-katosi -Nyenga road must stop but the Minister instead influenced the procurement process and proceeded to sign the contract with ETAW company well aware of its shortcomings.
Now much as Byandala claims he was mandated as a minister to give policy directives, Justice Gidudu demands to know whether in directing UNRA to sign a contract with a ghost company on grounds that due diligence would be taken later falls under a policy directive.
Byandala is to offer defense jointly with four former Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) officials including Berunado Ssebbugga, Joe Ssemugooma, Wilberforce Senjako and Marvin Baryaruha who are also charged with Abuse of office and negligence of their official duties which led to the loss of the said money.
To the judge, these must give an explanation to whom the money to construct the road was paid to since EUTAW has never been seen at the site.
Others are city businessman Apolo Senkeeto who is 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 company which had allegedly won the contract to upgrade the said road.
Another suspect is the former Housing Finance Bank official, Isaac Mugote who is to explain why he failed to verify the securities presented by ETAW before releasing out the money which securities would have been a fallback position to government after Investigations revealed that the company is non-existent.
The 6 denied all the 23 counts and they had pleaded to court to acquit them saying prosecution had failed to prove that there was any conspiracy amongst them to defraud government of the said money.
Justice Gidudu has however ruled that the IGG has made out a case against each of the accused based on the documents that they authored. The judge has added that it’s them to offer explanation on these documents
This after justice Lawrence Gidudu ordered Byandala and his 5 co-accused to give an explanation to the nation how the said money ended up in hands of a fraudster a one Apollo Ssenkeeto who mis-represented himself as the president of ETAW construction company whereas not.
However, Ssenkeeto who says will also give a sworn evidence has asked Justice Gidudu to offer him protection inform of security personnel saying his evidence will touch on very important and influential people in the country who may endanger his life. Ssenkeento will begin his defense on the 30th/October 2017.