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Museveni explains Bukenya charges

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th July 2011 03:00 AM

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has spoken out on the plight of former Vice-President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, saying consultations he made revealed that there were no sustainable charges to answer.

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has spoken out on the plight of former Vice-President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, saying consultations he made revealed that there were no sustainable charges to answer.

By Cyprian Musoke and Joyce Namutebi

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has spoken out on the plight of former Vice-President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, saying consultations he made revealed that there were no sustainable charges to answer.

Museveni was speaking in an NRM caucus meeting at the State House in Entebbe on Monday.

While answering MPs’ queries, Museveni said he had initially been made to believe there was ‘prima facie’ case to answer, but after further consultations he was told there was no sustainable case.

Sources that attended the meeting said: “The President said he had consulted widely from legal people, who advised him that there was no strong evidence to pin Bukenya on the corruption allegations.”

In May, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) dragged Bukenya to the Anti-corruption Court over decisions that were taken when he chaired a Cabinet sub-committee meeting between May and November 2007 that awarded the contract to supply 80 Units of BMWs and 1200 RT Police outrider motor cycles used in Chogm to Motor Care Uganda.

According to the charge sheet, Bukenya “unlawfully and high-handedly awarded the contract in total disregard of procurement laws.”

Bukenya has argued that the decisions were taken collectively by the Cabinet sub-committee and not individually.

He said since his duties as vice-president were always derived from the Office of the President, he is immune from prosecution.

Sources said when the MPs asked the President whether he would intercede to save Bukenya from prosecution, “he did not commit himself to doing anything.”

The President reportedly said the IGG, Raphael Bakku, had insisted that cases against Bukenya could be sustained in court.

Information and national guidance minister Mary Karooro Okurut confirmed that the issues were discussed in the meeting, but said she was not officially allowed to speak for the caucus.

Government chief whip John Nasasira’s three phone numbers were off.

The President also reportedly promised to study the parliamentary appointments committee report on the rejected ministerial nominees and plan the way forward.

According to the sources, when Attorney General Fred Ruhindi was asked to give his legal opinion over the matter, he declined to do so, saying the matter was before court.

But Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi explained that according to article 113 of the Constitution, if one qualified to become an MP, such a person was also fit to be a minister.

According to Mbabazi, the appointments committee acted beyond their powers to reject the presidential nominees, who were already MPs.

But this was disputed by Buyaga East MP Ignatuis Besisira, who said the powers of appointment are shared between the President and Parliament, which is enjoined to approve the nominees.

Rejected ministers are former Kampala mayor Nasser Ntege Sebaggala, Saleh Kamba, Muyanja Mbabaali and James Kakooza.

Museveni explains Bukenya charges

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