Katosi road scam: Court to rule on whether Byandala has case to answer

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Court will this morning decide whether former works minister, Abraham Byandala has a case to answer or not in connection with the Shs24.7 billion which government lost in the botched Mukono-Katosi road project.
Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the Anti- Corruption Court in Kololo set October 16 for ruling whether Mr Byandala and other accused persons should defend themselves.

Mr Byandala who was dropped from cabinet in March 2015 is charged jointly with businessman Apolo Senkeeto alias Mark Kalyesubula who was the country representative of Eutaw Construction Company, which is accused of fleecing UNRA Shs24.7 billion in the collapsed Katosi road contract.

Other suspects include former UNRA acting executive director Eng Berunado Ssebbugga Kimeze, Mr Joe Ssemugooma (former director of finance and administration), Mr Wilberforce Senjako (former regional accountant) and Mr Isaac Mugote (former staff of Housing Finance Bank).
The suspects who deny any wrong doing have since asked the court to dismiss the charges arguing that prosecution evidence was marred by controversies and inconsistences that cannot warrant them to be put on defence.

Prosecution case;
Prosecution states that Mr Byandala abused his office while holding the Works ministry, when in a November 14, 2013 letter he directed the immediate signing of the contract between UNRA and Eutaw yet the company lacked capacity to carry out the road works.

The Inspector general of government, who is prosecuting the case, also states that Byandala in another August 27, 2014 letter further abused his office by ordering the continuation of the works on the Katosi road by Chongqing International Construction Company. The IGG contends that this act also amounted to disobeyed lawful orders by Byandala.

The IGG alleges that Mr 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 the payment of over Shs24 billion to the detriment of UNRA’s interests.

Mr Kimeze is separately and jointly charged with Mr Semugooma over causing financial loss to the government by approving payment of the Shs24 billion to Eutaw despite glaring defects in the due-diligence report.

By Daily Monitor