By Pascal Kwesiga
Col. Shaban Bantariza opened an unofficial bank account in Stanbic Bank branch of Kiboga town that he reportedly used to acquire sh500m from the office of the president on behalf of National Leadership Institute (NALI), a prosecution witness has said.
The former administration officer at NALI, Maj. Alfred Kamusala said that Bantariza opened a different account after the office of the president informed them (institute administrators) that the institute had been given a budgetary allocation of sh500m for the first time.
He told the General court martial presided over by Brig. Moses Ssentongo in Makindye on Thursday that Bantariza was a chief signatory to the account that he reportedly opened between 2009 and 2010 when he served as NALI director.
"He (Bantariza) was the chief signatory and he appointed another official as a co-signatory. I was a chief signatory to the old account that he (accused) abandoned," Kamusala said.
Kamusala also said that Bantariza didn't follow the procurement rules when he purchased a tractor for the institute as he claims.
Bantariza is facing charges of fraud, conspiracy to defraud, tempering with documents and causing loss of money meant for fuel and medicine. Others are offences related to documents, forgery, ill treatment of a subordinate and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.
The former army spokesperson is said to have received a tractor registration number UAN 652Z and its accessories worth sh67m from the ministry of finance as a donation to NALI but he instead altered documents to indicate that he (Bantariza) had bought it for the institute. Bantariza reportedly received sh67m from NALI as payment for the tractor.
The state also alleges that Bantariza with intent to defraud diverted 500 liters of fuel for NAL in 2011. It also alleges that in October 2010, Bantariza with intent to defraud ordered for the payment for drugs worth over sh9m purportedly purchased by NALI which wasn't the case.
The state also claims that Bantariza in 2010 subjected a UPDF warrant officer, Henry Ssesanga to ill treatment when he hurled insults at him. Prosecution also alleges that between 2010 and 2011 Bantariza employed high handed methods of administration and failed to adhere to principals of democracy which resulted into writing of anonymous letters by soldiers.