By David Lumu
The chairman of the General Court Martial, Brigadier Moses Diba Ssentongo, first nodded. Then in a startling tone, he asked how a vehicle can consume 1,000 litres of fuel every day for three consecutive times.
“In three days a vehicle took 1,000 litres every day! What type of vehicle is this?” he asked.
Then his colleague on the bench, Major Jane Mukasa quickly answered: “May be a tank.”
“I don’t think so. A tank cannot move so far in battle to require 1,000 litres of fuel every day. We might need to access the capacity of the engine of these vehicles,” Ssentongo probed further.
Ssentongo was responding to Major Yusuf Kimbugwe’s testimony against Major Alex Kirabo, who is battling charges of diverting over 5,000 litres of fuel and endangering the operation efficiency of AMISOM in Somalia.
Kimbugwe, the current AMISOM Uganda Contingent Military Transport Officer told court on Wednesday that some vehicles had no meter –readers.
Detailing how UPDF officers stole fuel, Kimbugwe also said that soldiers who were in charge of fuel distribution in Somalia didn’t know the vehicles that the various sub-contingents were using for operation.
“These are the anomalies that existed. We assumed that all vehicles given fuel belong to our battle groups. Vehicle meters were not functioning. We measured their fuel consumption basing on hours spent in the field,” he said.
Kimbugwe took over from Major Alex Kirabo in September 2013 as the Military Transport Office (MTO) of the Uganda AMISOM contingent in Somalia.
However, Marion Sunday Ben Bella, the defence lawyer for Kirabo said that these anomalies cannot be blamed on Kirabo.
The case was adjourned until May 12 after Captain Fredrick Kangwamu, the state\UPDF lawyer, asked court for more time to prepare other witnesses. Kirabo, who is in dentation at Makindye military barracks, was arrested in January after appearing before an investigation team set up by President Yoweri Museveni in 2013 to investigate the alleged selling of fuel meant for military operations in Somalia.