DPP Withdraws Case against OPMs officials in COVID Relief Scandal

L-R: Mr Martin Owor (Commissioner of disaster preparedness), Mr Joel Wanjala (accounting officer), Ms Christine Guwatudde (OPM Permanent Secretary), and Mr Fred Lutimba (assistant commissioner, procurement) appear before Buganda Road Court, April 14, 2020.

Kampala – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jane Frances Abodo has discontinued charges against four officials from the Office of the Prime Minister.

The acquitted were accused of inflating prices of food meant for the vulnerable poor under the Covid-19 food relief program last year.

The freed officials are; former permanent secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu, Head of procurement Fred Lutimba Kyeyune, Under Secretary Joel Wanjala, and the Commissioner for Relief Disaster and Preparedness who was also the Head of the Covid-19 Relief Management, Mr Martin Owor.

In August 2020, the DPP ordered for the trial of the accused persons to start before the Anti-corruption division of the High Court.

However, in a letter dated August 19, 2021, and signed by the DPP herself, charges of abuse of office, fraudulent false accounting, and corruption have been dropped.

No reason has been stated by justice Abodo to withdraw the 24 counts against the officials.

The DPP had alleged that in abuse of the authority of their respective offices; Guwatudde and Kyeyune prepared and issued an award letter to various companies to supply maize, beans, milk, and sugar amounting to Shs32.3 billion in total disregard of the procurement procedures.

The four had again jointly been charged with Martin Owor for colluding to commit a fraudulent practice between March and April 2020.

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