Kampala- The case of disobeying lawful orders against former Works minister, Abraham Byandala, on Tuesday took a new twist when the investigating officer denied sanctioning the charge.
Ms Lisa Mwagale, an investigator with the office of Inspector General of Government (IGG), made the stunning statement when she appeared in the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala for cross-examination about her earlier testimony against Byandala and his co-accused.
She told the court that she did not recommend the charge against Mr Byandala.
The case is being prosecuted by the IGG’s office. The prosecution contends that on August 27, 2014, Mr Byandala abused his office by ordering the continuation of the Mukono-Katosi road works by Chongqing International Construction Company in defiance of earlier orders by the IGG’s office.
The IGG observes that Byandala’s act is tantamount to disobeying lawful orders.
Byandala is jointly charged with businessman Apolo Senkeeto alias Mark Kalyesubula, who was country representative of Eutaw Construction Company, which is accused of fleecing the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) of Shs24.7 billion in the Katosi project rip-off.
Other suspects are former Unra acting executive director Berunado Ssebbugga Kimeze, Joe Ssemugooma (former Unra director of finance and administration), Wilberforce Senjako (former Unra regional accountant) and Isaac Mugote (former staff of Housing Finance Bank).
Before Tuesday, Ms Mwagale had testified that Byandala ordered for the continuation of the road works even after the IGG had directed that no more construction should take place on the Mukono-Katosi project site.
Evidence before court indicates that Byandala wrote to his then junior minister John Byabagambi to implement his order to continue the road works on the site.
Ms Mwagale told court that she assumed Byabagambi did not act upon Byandala’s order because she did not have proof whether he [Byabagambi] received the letter bearing his boss’s directive.
The trial judge Lawrence Gidudu adjourned the case to April 3 for further cross-examination of Ms Mwagale.
Byandala. Particulars of the charges state that Byandala abused his office while holding the Works ministry when on November 14, 2013 he ordered the immediate signing of the contract between Unra and Eutaw yet the company lacked capacity to carry out the road works. Byandala was later dropped from cabinet in March 2015.
Kimeze. The IGG contends that Kimeze 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 disbursement of Shs24.7 billion to the company to the detriment of Unra’s interests. Kimeze is separately charged with Semugooma over causing financial loss to the government.