KAMPALA – The Court of Appeal has on December 2 cancelled the bail of former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government John Muhanguzi Kashaka and sent him back to Luzira prison to continue serving his 10-year and 10days sentence for causing a financial loss of UGX4.2b to government.
The money in enquiry was meant to procure over 70,000 bicycles from India that were meant to be supplied to LC1 chairpersons for government activities ahead of the 2011 presidential elections but no single bicycle was delivered into the country to date.
In a unanimous decision of three Court of Appeal justices led by Justice Elizabeth Musoke have upheld his conviction and sentence that was handed to him in 2014 by then Anti-corruption court judge Catherine Bamugemereire.
Other justices who included Elizabeth Musoke and Christopher Madrama have concurred with Justice Bamugemereire that indeed money to a tune of Shs4.6 billion was lost when Kashaka who was head of the contract’s committee that was charged with the duty of procuring the said bicycles neglected their duties and awarded the contract to a sham company Amman Industries Tools and Equipment Ltd (Aitel).
Kashaka is to start serving his sentence jointly together with Henry Bamutura; a former Principle Accountant in the same ministry and Sam Emorut Erongot Assistant commissioner policy and planning who is to serve 13 years in jail.
However, Erongot did not wait to be taken back to the coolers of Luzira Prison and decided to escape away from the police.
The justices have then ruled that they have found no reason to tample with the findings of the trial court which justified its sentence on grounds that corruption thrives in an environment where the risk of punishment is low. They have now upheld the respective sentences of Kashaka, Bamutura, Adam Aluma and Erongot who also must return 4.6 billion shillings to Government coffers.
However, it was noted that Robert Mwebaze the former principal procurement officer died during the hearing of his appeal although he had been sentenced to 10years by the lower court.
The forth convict Adam Aluma’s has also had his conviction and sentence of one year and 9 months upheld but he had already served his punishment and released from Luzira prison although he has to full fill the remaining part of his sentence which is to refund about Shs700million to Government.
All the convicts were banned from holding any public office for a period of ten years.
The court also acquitted Timothy Musherure, a consultant of engaging in any acts of procurement.