Just as many had predicted, beleaguered city tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba is now a free man after spending two nights in the Luzira coolers.
The Anti-Corruption Court sitting at Mabua Road in Kampala on Friday released the billionaire on a Shs 60 million cash bail.
Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa released the tycoon on grounds that evidence that he was summoned by Police and that he was fleeing the country were insufficient. He was then released after presenting four sureties and he is expected to deposit his passport at Court.
In related news, the Police has issued summons for the tycoon’s brother over his role in one of the charges.
Basajjabalaba was arrested on Wednesday at Entebbe International Airport as he attempted to leave the country for refusing to honour Police summons.
He was summoned by Police for questioning over the alleged forging of a court document in the sh142b market compensation saga, involving multiple contracts he entered into almost nine years ago with the now defunct Kampala City Council to manage, control and maintain city markets; Nakasero, St. Balikuddembe, and Shauriyako including the Constitutional Square.
The tycoon’s troubles emanate from forging a consent judgment that his companies which had earlier lost tenders to run city markets reached a Shs142bn compensation agreement with the Attorney General in 2008.
His claims came to the limelight after the Auditor General presented to Parliament a special audit report, which highlighted a lot of inconsistencies, among them how laws were flouted in the process, kicking up a probe by both Parliament and the Police.
Basajjabalaba entered into the contracts to run the markets through his Haba Group of companies.
However, in 2006, angry market vendors rejected the extension of the lease to Basajjabalaba and demonstrated, leading to riots and vandalism, compelling the Government to intervene.
The Cabinet later in 2007 took a decision that vendors, under their associations, be given first priority to manage and develop the markets, hence the cancellation of his contracts.
In 2009, Basajja filed a case in court against the Government, claiming compensation for loss of business incurred as a result of the cancellation of the contracts.
However, the Government preferred to settle the matter out of court, culminating into the saga.
This case raffled feathers among members of Uganda’s cabinet that saw former Ministers Syda Bumba and Khidu Makubuya lose their jobs.
The two resigned over their role in the irregular compensation of more than 150 billion shillings to Hassan Basajjabalaba and Col. John Mugyenyi in relation to the losses they incurred when their contracts were cancelled.
Prof. Makubuya was faulted for his failure to stop the inflating of payments from Shs131.7 billion to Shs142.6 billion to Haba Group. while Bumba was blamed for failing to make due diligence on the same compensation.