Former UNRA accountant charged, added onto Katosi road case

Byandal

A former accountant of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has been charged for allegedly causing financial lose and neglect of duty in connection with more than Shs24 billion financial loss to government in the failed contract for the upgrade of the Mukono-Katosi road project.

Mr Wilberforce Senjako, appeared before Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the Anti-Corruption Court at Kololo on Wednesday and denied the charges before he was added onto the indictment in which the Minister without Port Folio, Eng Abraham James Byandala is charged over similar transaction.

Prosecution alleges that while employed as regional accountant for UNRA in Kampala 2013, Mr Senjako in performance of his duties omitted to verify performance guarantee and advance payment security bonds issued by Housing Finance Bank to Eutaw to believe that it could cause loss of over Shs24 billion to government of Uganda.

It is alleged that Mr Senjako neglected his duty while employed by UNRA to verify securities in regard to the contract for construction of the Mukono-Katosi road.
Others accused persons are former acting executive director, Eng Berunado Ssebbugga Kimeze, Mr Joe Ssemugooma (finance and administration), Mr Apolo Senkeeto also known as Mark Kalyesubula and the country representative of Eutaw Construction Company Inc as well as Mr Isaac Mugote, a former banker with Housing Finance Bank Limited.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that negotiations for plea bargaining between Mr Semugooma and the Inspectorate of Government failed.
Justice Gidudu directed prosecution led by Ms Sarah Birungi to file an amended indictment to reflect all the accused persons on the same case file because the transactions and the witnesses are the same.
“If there is any plea bargaining by either side, it should be taken seriously. And if the plea bargaining is successful, I am prepared to end the proceedings but if not, I am prepared to proceed with the trial,” held Justice Gidudu describing the case as a matter of public concern.


The judge also directed the parties to hold talks before deciding to drafting any agreement before adjourning the case to April 29 this year.
Prosecution alleges that Eng. Byandala abused his office while holding the Works ministry docket through a November 14, 2013 letter, when he directed the immediate signing of the contract between UNRA and EUTAW, an American construction firm that was contracted to upgrade the Mukono- Katosi/Kisoga Nyenga road, and yet the company lacked capacity to carry out the work.


The IGG also alleges that the minister was dropped from the ministry in March 2015 for having, in an August 27, 2014 letter, abused his office by ordering for the continuation of the works on the Mukono-Katosi road by Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO).
It is alleged that Mr Byandala also disobeyed lawful orders by directing the continuation of works on Mukono-Kyetume-Nyenga road, the formalisation of the illegal sub-contract with CICO and ensuring that an agreement is signed between Eutaw and CICO authorising UNRA to pay CICO directly in defiance of IGG orders.

The IGG alleges that Mr Kimeze abused his office when he signed a contract with Eutaw Construction Company without establishing that there was a valid performance guarantee and advanced payment guarantee which facilitated the payment of over Shs24 billion contrary to UNRA’s interest.

In a separate charge, Eng Kimeze is jointly charged with Mr Semugooma over causing financial loss while performing their duties by approving the payment of over Shs24 billion to Eutaw despite the shortcomings in the due diligence report.

Source: Daily Monitor