NEWS

Byandala has a case to answer over Shs24.7b UNRA loss – Court

Embattled former Works minister Abraham Byandala. File photo.



KAMPALA–The woes of former Works minister Abraham Byandala are not about to end.

This is after court ordered him and his co-accused persons to defend themselves in a case relating to loss of Shs24.7 billion by government in the botched Mukono-Katosi road project.

Anti-Corruption Court judge Justice Lawrence Gidudu ruled Monday that prosecution had established a prima facie case against Byandala, businessman Apolo Senkeeto alias Mark Kalyesubula who was the country representative of Eutaw Construction Company, former UNRA acting executive director Eng Berunado Ssebbugga Kimeze, Joe Ssemugooma (former director of finance and administration), Wilberforce Senjako (former regional accountant) and Isaac Mugote (former staff of Housing Finance Bank).

Byandala is accused of abusing his office while holding the Works ministry, when in a November 14, 2013 letter he directed the immediate signing of the contract between UNRA and Eutaw yet the company lacked capacity to carry out the road works.

Court documents further state that in an August 27, 2014 letter, Byandala further abused his office by ordering the continuation of the works on the Katosi road by Chongqing International Construction Company.

The IGG, Who is prosecuting the case states that this act amounted to disobeyed lawful orders by Byandala.

As for Kimeze, it is stated that he abused his office when he signed a contract with Eutaw without establishing that there was a valid performance guarantee and issued a payment guarantee which allowed the payment of over Shs24 billion to the detriment of UNRA’s interests.

Kimeze is separately and jointly charged with Semugooma over causing financial loss to the government by approving payment of the Shs24 billion to Eutaw despite glaring defects in the due-diligence report.

Eutaw Construction Company is accused of causing UNRA a loss of Shs24.7 billion in the collapsed Katosi road contract.

During the trial, prosecution led by Sarah Birungi, the director for Legal Affairs in the Inspectorate of Government’s office presented 23 witnesses.

But defence lawyers contend that their clients, who are out on bail, have no case to answer.

 

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