The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health Dr Asuman Lukwago has petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking to block proceedings before the Anti Corruption Court, saying they are unconstitutional.
Dr Lukwago is among others wanted by the Anti Corruption Court for conspiring with 3 others in an attempt to steal over Shs1 billion from the ministry’s Global Fund project.
In his complaint filed on June 7 before the Constitutional Court, Dr Lukwago accuses the DPP of initiating criminal proceedings against him for not having performed his duties as accounting officer and yet he did not accord him a hearing, a move he says is an abuse of a legal process.
Through his lawyers of Akampumuza and Co advocates, Dr Lukwago wants Constitutional Court to issue a permanent order staying all criminal charges and proceedings against him at the Anti Corruption Court
Dr Lukwago has failed three times to appear before the Anti Corruption Court to plead to the corruption related charges slapped against him by the DPP, citing ‘ill health’.
However, the state insists that he is playing delaying tactics to avoid the long hand of the law.
Further in his complaint before the court, Dr Lukwago has lashed at the DPP for preferring charges against unknown offenses, a procedure he says amounts to abuse of criminal procedure and that it’s unconstitutional.
His complaint comes at the time when the Anti Corruption Court has for the second time in about a period of a month, issued an arrest warrant coupled with criminal summons against him for refusing to come to court to plead to the charges. He is expected in court on July 2 to take plea.
In his affidavit to support his complaint, Dr Lukwago claims he is the one who instead stopped the fraud at the National Medical Stores and yet the actual person behind this fraud has been treated in a ‘protectionist’ and ‘privileged’ manner.
Dr Lukwago is jointly charged with Mr Ponziano Nyeko (46), an Assistant Commissioner in the Health Ministry, Mr Alex Gumisiriza (32), Finance Manager, Global Fund in the Health ministry and Mr Sabiiti Tibaijuka (52), former police officer.
All his co-accused have pleaded to the charges against them with the exception of Dr Lukwago who has not yet shown up in court.
He faces a separately charge of neglecting his official accounting duties when he failed to ensure the proper expenditure of the ministry’s funds according to the Public and Accountability Act 2003.
According to the charge sheet, he failed to ensure the propriety of the expenditure of the MOH by signing Security Paper No. 186271 thereby authorizing Bank of Uganda to credit a fraudulent bank account in the names of National Medical Stores (NMS).
The constitutional Court is yet to hear his grievances and decide on whether to stop his proceedings before the Anti Corruption Court or not.