Four officials from the Office of the Prime Minister have been slapped with 24 charges relating to flouting procurement processes while purchasing COVID-19 relief food.
The officials who include; PS Christine Guwatudde, Accounting officer Joel Wanjala, Assistant Commissioner for procurement Fred Lutimba and Commissioner for Disaster Management Martin Owor will now face 12 counts related to abuse of office and 12 others on false accounting.
In a charge sheet presented by the Resident State Attorney Banat Kitimbo, the accused did acts of arbitrary and prejudicial to their employer when they prepared and issued false companies in award letters to supply COVID-19 relief items such as maize flour, processed milk, beans worth 32billion shillings without respecting the procurement procedures contrary to section 11 (I) of the Anti-Corruption Act,2009.
These were arrested on April8th on the orders of the President who directed the State House Anti Corruption Unit head Lt Col Edith Nakalema to carry out investigations on COVID-19 relief food procurement.
The companies that were contracted between March 31 and April 8, 2020, include Aponye Uganda Limited which was given 19 billion Shillings to supply 2,000,000 kilograms of maize each at 3,000 Shillings, and 200,000 Kilograms of beans, 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 C/o SCOUL , given 900 million Shillings, Operation Wealth Creation which was paid 450 million Million Shillings to supply 100,000kg of beans, Pearl Dairy Farmers Limited with a bill of 525 million shillings and Global Centre Limited which was given 240 million Shillings.
The state also accuses the group of awarding a contract to supply relief food to NMACKS Investment Limited at225 million shillings claiming it had been done through the OPM contracts committee whereas not.
The accused persons were represented by a lawyers McDusman Kabega, Andrew Mumpenjje, Evans Ochieng and Medard Lubega Sseggona.
The lawyers asked State to disclose the evidence intended to use against their clients as they head to the Anti-Corruption Court however the prosecutors noted that all this will be done when proceedings at the Anti-Corruption Court commence.
Court set 15th July as the official dates for hearing of the case.