February 19, 2013

BICYCLES SCAM: Kashaka has Case to answer

John-Muhanguzi-Kashaka
John-Muhanguzi-Kashaka

The Anti Corruption Court has this morning ruled that interdicted local government permanent secretary, John Muhanguzi Kashaka, has a case to answer in connection to the bungled purchase of 70,000 bicycles meant for village local council chairpersons.

The ruling was made by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire after the prosecution side led by Jane Abodo informed the court that they had closed their case. This was after the prosecution adduced 12 witnesses to prove the corruption charges against the suspects.

The case involves Kashaka along with five others. They stand accused of abusing their offices by allegedly signing a final contract with Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd (Aitel) for delivery of 70,000 bicycles without contacting the contracts committee.
Over 4.2 billion shillings is alleged to have been paid to the supply firm but no bicycle up to date, has been delivered.
Justice Bamugemereire ruled that after listening to all the 12 witnesses, she found that there was a prema facie case against each of the accused persons.
The judge in her ruling also gave each of the accused persons three options on how they should defend themselves. The options included; giving sworn defense, unsworn evidence and remaining silent.
The judge informed the accused that they have a right to call their witnesses to defend them if they wished so. Some of the accused persons face a separate charge of neglect of duty which they deny.
Kashaka’s co-accused include; Henry Bamutura, a principal accountant, Robert Mwebaze, a principal procurement officer, Sam Emorut Erongot, an assistant commissioner policy and planning, Timothy Musherure, a member of evaluation committee, and Adam Aluma, a member of evaluation committee.
Court in consultation with lawyers from both the prosecution and defense sides, fixed March 19 and 20 to hear the accused’s defense.
State prosecutor Abodo asked court to compel the defense lawyers to disclose to her any documents they intend to rely on for their defense.
In reply, one of the defense lawyers, Ateenyi Tibaijuka said the defense team intends to heavily rely on some of the prosecution exhibits which are already before the court.
However, Ateenyi said if they happen to come across any relevant documents, they will avail them to the prosecution before they start the defense.

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