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Senkeeto petitions Constitutional Court to block trial

By Farooq Kasule, Michael Odeng

Added 27th June 2017 08:35 AM

He contends that the IGG initiated the criminal prosecution against a person who is not employed in public service

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He contends that the IGG initiated the criminal prosecution against a person who is not employed in public service

Apollo Senkeeto and five others are facing 24 counts of abuse of office, causing financial loss, corruption and theft. Photo by Nicholas Oneal

City businessman Apollo Senkeeto has petitioned the Constitutional Court, seeking an order nullifying all criminal proceedings against him in the Anti-Corruption Court.

Senkeeto, who faces charges of causing government financial loss of over sh20b, argues that the proceedings were initiated against him by the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

He filed the case together with Eutaw Construction Company from Mississippi in the United States against the Attorney General (AG) and the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

Senkeeto, through Mulira and Company Advocates, contends that the IGG initiated the criminal prosecution against a person who is not employed in public service.

According to the petition, Senkeeto avers that failure by the IGG to give him an opportunity to be heard, infringed his right to a fair hearing as enshrined in the Constitution.

This comes at a time when prosecution led by Sarah Birungi is winding up its case in which government seeks to recover a total of sh24.7b that was meant for the construction of Mukono-Katosi Road from gravel to paved standard.

Senkeeto together with the former works minister Abraham Byandala, former UNRA managers Berunado Kimeze Ssebbugga, 54, Joe Ssemugooma, Wilberforce Senjako and Isaac Mugote, a former Housing Finance Bank official are facing 24 counts of abuse of office, causing financial loss, corruption and theft before court.

Justice Lawrence Gidudu is presiding over the case and prosecution is left with one witness to close its case.

Senkeeto and Eutaw seek orders directing the Attorney General and UNRA to release all the equipment belonging to Eutaw Construction Company.

They also seek general damages from UNRA for breach of contract and special damages of sh20m per vehicle/equipment per month from the date of confiscation to the date of judgment.  

The vehicles which are said to be 100 in number include tractors, excavators, caterpillars, graders, double cabins, truck and other equipment.

They also want court to declare UNRA’s act of terminating Eutaw’s contract and giving the works to another company at an extra cost of sh100b contravenes its right protected under Article 20 and 21 of the Constitution.

On November 15, 2013 Eutaw signed an agreement with UNRA under which it undertook to carry out civil works for upgrading 74km Mukono-Katosi Road and an advance payment of sh24.8m, representing 15 percent of the accepted contract was paid to it.

According to Senkeeto total works executed by Eutaw since commencement was 16.5 percent. Eutaw commenced work on April 10, 2014 until December 15, 2014 when the IGG forced it to leave the work site.

In a letter dated July 17, 2014, the IGG stated that UNRA irregularly revived a procurement process that had been cancelled a year earlier by the contracts committee and whose bid had long expired. It further stated that the contract price of sh162b amounted to a negotiated price.

IGG also stated that there was no evidence that Eutaw furnished UNRA with the performance security contrary to the conditions of the contract.

“The IGG did not issue a report in respect of the investigations as required by Article 231 of the Constitution,” Senkeeto contends.

But, Senkeeto and Eutaw contend that by the time the IGG stopped the works, it had not commenced its investigations as required under the provisions of the Constitution and that Eutaw was not given an opportunity to be heard.

They argue that that IGG confiscated Eutaw vehicles/equipment although it was not convicted of a criminal offence or obtaining a court order to do so. 

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