The investigative officer from the office of the Inspector General of government (IGG) of the Katosi road scam case against former Minister for works Eng. Abraham James Byandala has admitted ignoring Attorney General (AG) advice not to cancel contract.
Lisa Mwagali admitted during cross-examination by Apollo Ssenkeeto’s lawyer Peter Mulira that the Inspectorate did not follow the AG Peter Nyombi’s advice despite seeking for it. During cross examination, it was established that the then Attorney General warned the office of the IGG against causing financial loss to government by cancelling Eutaw contract.
Counsel Mulira tasked the IGG’s investigating officer to explain to court why her office chose to ignore the AG’s advice well aware that their actions were illegal and would cause financial loss to Government.
Nyombi had also advised that the sub-contract with CICO should not be cancelled because there was no evidence collusion or element of criminality in its contract with EUTAW.
“In a legal letter dated August 23, 2014 to the IGG, the inspectorate was warned by the then acting Executive Director Joe Ssemugooma against causing financial loss to government by cancelling Eutaw contract. You went ahead and stopped Eutaw’s Shs165bn contract and now the current contract which was awarded by UNRA is Shs253bn, aren’t you guilty of causing over Shs150m loss to government?” Mulira asked.
Mwagali responded that the IGG cancelled Eutaw’s ‘contract because it was illegal. She how ever admitted that even Eng. David Luyimbazi and other members of the top management team warned the IGG against cancelling the contract because of the loss which will result. She further admitted that despite the IGG cancelling the contract in July 2014 work continued up to September 2014 because the contractor was basing on the letter written by Byandala.
“The solicitor General approved this contract on behalf of government, then why do you call it illegal?” Mulira asked again.
She responded that the contract was supposed to be awarded to Eutaw Mississippi but it was awarded to Eutaw Florida and the company which received the contract from UNRA later sub-contracted Chong Ching Construction Company (CICO) which was illegal.
This forced Mulira toread to her a clause in the conditions of the contract which showed that Eutaw had a right to sub-contract about 90% of the work. She nonetheless insisted that UNRA was not informed about the sub-contract. Mulira further showed her a letter showing that Eutaw wrote to the Consulting Engineer ACE informing him about the intention to sub-contract CICO as provided for in the contract.
Byandala and Ssenkeeto who purported to be Eutaw Uganda country representative are facing corruption-related charges together with UNRA legal Counsel Marvin Baryaruha, former UNRA Finance Director Ssemugooma, acting ED Bernado Kimeze Ssebbugga, Accountant Wilberforce Ssenjako and Housing Finance bank manager Isaac Mugote.
Ssenkeeto is facing theft of Shs24bn which was advanced to Eutaw to do the road, forgery of performance guarantees and other bonds together with Mugote while Byandala and other UNRA officials are facing causing financial loss, embezzlement, neglect of duty among other. Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the High Court Anti-corruption court adjourned the hearing March 30, 2017.