Crime

HOIMA DISTRICT CHAIRPERSON APPEARS IN COURT FOR ILLEGALLY HIRING OUT GOVERNMENT ROAD EQUIPMENT

By Chris M Bruno

HOIMA: Five Hoima district officials on Monday appeared before the anti-corruption court which is convening in Hoima City to answer charges of illegally hiring out government road construction equipment to a private company.

Hoima district chairperson, Kadir Kirungi, who also doubles as the Secretary for works and technical services together with the district vice chairperson, Benson ChiChe, who is also the councillor for Buhanika sub-county appeared in court.

Others are: James Mugenyi Mulindambura, the district secretary for production and natural resources and Kigorobya sub-county councilor, Geoffrey Komaketch, the Buseruka sub-county councilor-secretary for finance, Christopher Nyarwa, the equipment operator, among others.

The Anti-Corruption court is sitting at Hoima magistrate’s court to allow state prosecutors present evidence through their witnesses.

The court which is being presided over by Joan Aciro, the Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate heard from the state prosecutors led by Gloria Nzikuru and Emily Mutuzo that the district officials illegally hired out government road construction equipment to a private company to carry out its operations in Kiryandongo district.

The officials were released on bail after they were arrested on September 11, 2021 by detectives from State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) when they had gone for interrogation over allegations.

The district officials are battling charges of forgery, utterance of false documents and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Kirungi is also accused of issuing a false document regarding a district executive committee meeting minutes to anti-corruption unit in Entebbe on August 30, 2021.

Prosecution told court that the four while at Cultural Lodge in Hoima City on August 28, 2021, with intent to deceive, forged the district executive committee minutes purporting the same had been made on June 22, 2021, whereas not.

Ibrahim Luswata, the former Hoima district engineer on April 5, pleaded guilty to the charges of abuse of office and causing financial loss to the government through plea bargaining.

The same Court sitting in Kampala then presided over by Justice Lawrence Gidudu, convicted Luswata and ordered him to pay a fine of sh6m and barred him from occupying a public office for ten years.

Genesis

The Police and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit September last year impounded Hoima District Road equipment over alleged misuse.

The equipment that includes a grader and a Vibro roller machine was found on a private farm owned by an Indian investor in Kigumba town council Kiryandongo district.  At the time they were impounded, the grader and the Vibro roller had their number plates plucked off.

This caused the arrest of the Hoima district engineer Ibrahim Luswata, Vincent Irumba, the works supervisor and Charles Tibagwa, a mechanic attached to Hoima district local government.

The suspects together with other top district officials are alleged to have connived and hired out the road equipment to the Indian investor whose particulars are yet to be revealed.

In June 2017, President Museveni commissioned the road equipment worth more than sh500b that was distributed to 121 districts in Uganda.

Each district received a full unit of equipment consisting of one motor grader, one wheel loader, one vibro roller, one water bowser and two dump trucks. Each unit was valued at 2.7 Billion Shillings.

The 1,151 pieces of road equipment were imported from Japan using a loan from the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation

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