Kawooya allegedly committed the offence in 2014, when he was an auditor in the education ministry.
The internal auditor of the Ministry of Public Service, Jaffer Kawooya, has been charged with causing financial loss of sh33.8m to the education ministry.
Kawooya appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo on Friday together with the secretary to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Dr Rose Lukwago Nassali, Dr Opio Okiror, and Cuthbert Kagabo, who face the same charge.
Okiror, who was the former commissioner of health services and human resource management in the education ministry, is now the head of human resource in the Judiciary while Kagabo, the deputy director of AH Consulting, which provides consulting services to solve client's challenges in public and private sectors.
Kawooya allegedly committed the offence in 2014, when he was an auditor in the education ministry. The loss was as a result of paying a private company, AH Consulting Limited, to recruit five staff that had already been recruited.
The five staff were hired to work under the $74.44m (about sh275.4b) African Development Bank (AfDB) Higher Education Science and Technology (HEST) V project in the education ministry.
The accused denied the charges and Chief Magistrate Pamela Lamunu released him on a cash bail of sh3m, ruling that his sureties are substantial.
“I find the sureties substantial having proved to court that they have fixed places of abode,” she ruled.
The sureties, who were directed by court to execute a non-cash bond of sh20m, include William Kambogo, the ICT officer from the Ministry of Lands, Dorothy Oketcho, internal auditor of Ministry of Public Service and Adiga Tumwine, a senior internal auditor with Uganda Prisons Services. They are relatives and friends of the accused.
The magistrate directed Inspectorate of Government (IGG) prosecutors led by Hassan Walusimbi to disclose to the defence team documents they intend to use as evidence during trial since investigations are complete.
Lawyer Noah Kasumba informed court that one of the accused lodged an application at the Civil Division of the High Court to block trial and therefore requested court for a few days to consult his superiors on the other matter before the case is fixed for hearing.
The magistrate adjourned the case to October 7, when the accused are expected to appear in court for mention of their case.
Prosecution alleges that in the financial year 2014/2015 at the education ministry headquarters in Kampala, Kawooya, Nassali, Okiror and Kagabo, in the performance of their duties as accounting officer, commissioner health services and internal auditor respectively, unlawfully paid AH Consulting, well knowing their actions would cause a financial loss.
Nassali is also facing charges of abuse of office, where it is alleged that as the accounting officer at the education ministry, she contracted AH Consulting to recruit five technical staff, although she was aware that the said staff had already been recruited.
It is alleged that Okiror, while at the ministry in 2014, as a contract manager for the AfDB project, abused his office when he arbitrarily contravened the responsibilities of the contract manager. Okiror allegedly failed to ensure that AH Consulting met all the terms of the contract to recruit staff for the AfDB project
About the AfDB project
Uganda and AfDB signed a $74.44m (about sh275.4b) loan agreement on July 5, 2013, for the support to the HEST V project.
The first component of the project was to improve and expand HEST at six public universities and two-degree awarding tertiary institutions.
The funding, among others, included the construction of lecture rooms, laboratories, technology workshops, information and communications technology (ICT) laboratories, libraries with virtual capabilities, external civil works and utility expansion.
It also involves equipment procurement, installation and operation and maintenance.
The funding includes training for laboratory technology, agriculture mechanization and learning equipment, ICT infrastructure, equipment, e-learning programmes for the training institutions, software and training.
The money is also meant to build capacity in HEST public institutions, improve the institutions’ quality and relevance. AfDB contributed $67m, while the Government and beneficiary institutions were to contribute $7.44m.