By Edward Anyoli
The trial of former Global fund project coordinator Dr.Tiberius Muhebwa charged with causing financial loss of sh108m to government starts this morning at the Anti- Corruption Court before Justice Lawrence Gidudu.
Muhebwa is jointly charged with two former bosses of DFCU bank Robert Katuntu former managing director of DFCU and Godfrey Lule former head of treasury are charged with abuse of office over loss of sh479m belonging to government.
Magala Kituuma, city lawyer is charged with conspiracy to defraud government of sh295m belonging to Global Fund project.
Prosecution led by state attorney Josephine Namatovu alleged that in November2004, at the Project Management Unit offices in Kampala , being a person employed by Uganda Government as a project coordinator , abused his office when he deliberately sold Global Fund U$1m( about sh8m) to DFCU bank at a lower rate of sh1712 per dollar, leaving a better rate of sh1729 per dollar that was offered by Stanbic bank.
On the second count, Muhebwa is accused of causing financial loss of sh100m when he allegedly sold Global Fund dollars at lower rate of sh1700 per dollar to DFCU bank leaving a better rate of sh1725 per dollar that was offered by Stanbic bank and this prosecution said had been brought to his notice by finance department that such an act would cause loss of sh100m to government.
Katuntu , Lule and Kituuma are facing charges of conspiracy to defraud Government of sh295m which was allegedly and fraudulently raised by Katuntu and Lule through manipulation of Global Fund foreign exchange rates and illicitly paid Kituuma as brokerage fees claiming that Kituuma had introduced Global Fund account to DFCU bank. They denied the charges.
It is alleged that Lule in April 2004, at DFCU bank in Kampala being employed as the head of treasury in abuse of authority of his office , did an arbitrary act, when he fraudulently directed the staff of DFCU ‘s bank to convert Global Fund dollars in sum of $1m at an inflated foreign exchange rate of sh1,920 per dollar which was much higher than the rate of 1908 per dollar.
It is alleged that Lule while employed by DFCU bank a company in which government had shares, fraudulently directed the bank to convert Global Fund dollars in sum of $2m at an inflated foreign exchange rate of sh1,839 per dollar, which was much higher than the rate of sh1,815 thereby raising an illicit difference of sh48m.
On another charge of abuse of office, Lule is accused fraudulently directing bank staff to convert Global Fund dollars amounting to $1m at an inflated foreign exchange rate of sh1,825 per dollar, which was much high than the rate of sh1,810 raising an illicit difference of sh15m an act prosecution said is prejudicial to the interest of his employer.
Lule is also accused of fraudulently converting another Global Fund money amounting to $1m at an inflated foreign exchange rate of 1,697 per dollar which was higher than sh1,682 causing an illicit difference of sh15m.
Prosecution alleged that did another an arbitrary act when he directed the bank staff to convert $2m at an inflated foreign exchange rate of sh1,739 per dollar instead of 1,730 raising an illicit difference of sh18m.
On the last count of abuse of office Lule is accused of an arbitrary act when he allegedly directed bank staff to convert Global Fund dollars amounting $4m at an inflated foreign exchange rate of sh1,714 instead of sh1,700 leaving an illicit difference of sh56m.
Meanwhile prosecution said Katuntu being employed as the general manager of DFCU paid sh56m which was fraudulently raised by Lule through manipulation of Global Fund foreign exchange rates.
Katuntu is further accused of approving instructions directing the staff of DFCU bank to convert Global Fund dollars amounting to $4m at an inflated foreign exchange rate of sh1,689 per dollar instead of 1,665 leaving an illicit difference of sh96m, an act prosecution said is prejudicial.
Prosecution said Katuntu in August 2005, at DFCU bank office in Kampala being employed as the general manager a company in which government had shares abused his office when he allegedly paid sh35m which had been fraudulently raised by Lule through manipulation of Global Fund foreign exchange falsely claiming that it was commission fees for soliciting Global Fund business.
Trial of former Global Fund project boss starts