KAMPALA — Four officials from the Office of the Prime Minister including the Permanent Secretary Ms Christine Guwatudde Kintu, the accounting officer Joel Wanjala and Commissioner Martin Owor have been sent on remand at Luzira and Kitalya state penitentiaries respectively for inflating prices of food relief in this COVID-19 lockdown period.
The trio, jointly charged alongside Henry Lutimba Kyeyune, an assistant commissioner heading procurement in the OPM, for offenses of colluding to commit fraudulent actions which offend the rules governing the Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authorized(PPDA) Act.
After announcing a lockdown as one of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus , the government through the OPM decided to distribute food relief in form of beans and posho to the masses.
However, prosecution alleges that between 31st/March and 8th/April 2020, the accused inflated the food prices than those offered by suppliers .
The suspects who were arrested last week by the State House Anti-corruption Unit have denied the charge before Buganda Road Court Grade one magistrate, Doreen Kalungi.
These also made an attempt to apply for bail through their eleven defence lawyers, but the presiding magistrate declined to entertain it on grounds that she cannot conduct lengthy hearings due to the prevailing circumstances of a lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus .
The magistrate noted the accused’s relatives and lawyers had filled the courtroom to capacity while violating the President’s and ministry of Health guidelines on social distancing.
The accused have been therefore remanded until May 4 as inquiries in the case continue.