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UNRA received forged documents to secure sh24.7b

By Michael Odeng, Barbra Kabahumuza

Added 23rd February 2017 12:37 PM

According to Police document examiner Sylvia Cheleganti, the documents issued to Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) by Eutaw in a bid to secure sh24.7b for the upgrade of Mukono-Katosi road were forged.

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Former Works minister Abraham Byandala

According to Police document examiner Sylvia Cheleganti, the documents issued to Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) by Eutaw in a bid to secure sh24.7b for the upgrade of Mukono-Katosi road were forged.

The contract for works on 72km Mukono Katosi Nyenga road was signed without valid performance securities submitted by the contractor, the Superintendent of Police has told court.

According to Police document examiner Sylvia Cheleganti, the documents issued to Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) by Eutaw in a bid to secure sh24.7b for the upgrade of Mukono-Katosi road were forged.

Presenting her findings to court on Tuesday  she observed that there was evidence showing that managers of Statewide Insurance Company (SWICO) were not signatories to the said documents.

Judge Lawrence Gidudu is presiding over the trial at the Anti- Corruption Court in Kampala.It was alleged that the documents, addressed to UNRA which include original performance bond, advanced payment bond and documents for verifying securities were signed by Joseph Kiwanuka and Mariam Mutalaga whereas not.

“Based on the differences observed, my opinion is there was strong evidence showing that the persons who signed the sample documents did not,” she stated.

According to court documents, on July 4, 2013 the UNRA contract committee approved a request from Procurement and Disposal Unit (PDU) and recommended negotiations and validation of Eutaw Construction Company bid.

However, on October 31, 2013 former UNRA Executive director Kimeze awarded the contract to Eutaw with a request that it should furnish UNRA with performance security within 28 days, which they did.

Meanwhile, after performance securities were issued to UNRA by Eutaw, it effected payment of sh24.7b.

Prosecution alleges that city businessman Apollo Senkeeto alias Mark Kalyesubula, 45,  in May 2014, fraudulently uttered a false advance payment bond dated December, 2013 for sh24.7b to UNRA, purporting that it was prepared and issued by SWICO, whereas not.

It is further alleged that Senkeeto fraudulently uttered a false performance bond dated November 21, 2013 for sh16.5b to UNR, purporting it was issued by the same company whereas not.     

Cheleganti was testifying as prosecution witness 21 in the case against seven people including former Works minister Abraham Byandala, accused of embezzling sh24.7b meant for the upgrade of Katosi road from gravel to bitumen standard.

Others include Berunado Kimeze Ssebbugga, 54, Joe Ssemugooma, 54, Marvin Baryaruha, 45, Wilberforce Senjako, all former UNRA senior managers and Isaac Mugote, a former Housing Finance Bank official.
  
The accused are battling 24 counts of abuse of office, disobedience of lawful orders, influence peddling, causing financial loss, corruption, theft, obtaining money by false pretense and uttering false documents.

However, before the case was adjourned, lawyer David Mpanga lodged a complaint to court, saying that prosecution served them the evidence of the investigating Officer Lisa Mwagali towards the end of trial. This, he said is trial by ambush and abuse of court process. Mwagali is slated to testify on Thursday this week.

“There is no reason to wait for what is happening during trial and you compile your report. This report should have been submitted in 2014,” He said.

In reply, prosecution led by Sarah Birungi said “the statement which was set aside was an oversight which we realized recently”.  

According to the charge sheet, Byandala is alleged to have influenced the procurement process that led to the award of tender to Eutaw.

Prosecution alleges that Senkeeto uttered a false KCB bank bid guarantee for sh1.9b in support of a bid for procurement of the road upgrade.

Senkeeto is allegedly obtained execution of performance bond of sh16.5b from insurance company of East Africa and UAP by misrepresenting to them that it was guaranteeing a pending payment for the road.

Meanwhile, UNRA officials were accused by the IGG for effecting payment of sh24.7b to Eutaw without establishing its authenticity.

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