KAMPALA — Senior officials in Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) including Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu who are on trial for the food relief scandal now face additional 24 changes relating to flouting procurement process.
Other officials under spotlight are Accountant Joel Wanjala, Assistant Commissioner for Procurement Fred Lutimba and Commissioner for Disaster Management Martin Owor have been slapped with 12 counts related to abuse of office and 12 others for false accounting.
Am amended charge sheet seen by tbis website, the officials 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 UGX32b in total disregard of the procurement procedures.
The trial will also be transferred to the Anti-Corruption Court which has the jurisdiction to try the new offences that have been slapped against the group.
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 each at 3,000 Shillings, 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/SCOUL , given 900 million Shillings, Operation Wealth Creation which was paid 450 million Million Shillings, Pearl Dairy Farmers Limited with a bill of 525 million shillings, Nmacks Investments Limited -225 million Shillings and Global Centre Limited which was given UGX.240m
The state alleges 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 money had been allocated by the OPM contracts committee which was false.
Prosecution claims over UGX 4 billion was lost in inflated prices after the officials quoted UGX 3900 per kilogram of maize flour as opposed to the market price of UGX 2500-3000 and UGX. 4500 per kilogram of beans as opposed to UGX 3000-4000 market price.
Government ordered 9,030,000 kilograms of maize flour and 635,000 kilograms of beans.
The four had initially been charged with one count of colluding to commit a fraudulent act during the procurement of COVID-19 relief items by inflating prices of commodities such as beans and maize which caused a loss of 4 billion Shillings to the government.
The accused persons were represented by a lawyers McDusman Kabega, Andrew Mumpenjje, Evans Ochieng and Medard Lubega Sseggona.
The legal team asked the State to disclose the evidence they intend to use against their clients as they head to the Anti-Corruption Court but he State noted that all this will be done when proceedings at the Anti-Corruption Court commence