THE Director of Economic Affairs in the Presidentâ€™s Office, Teddy Ssezi Cheeye, has been charged with 26 offences related to the mismanagement of the Global Fund and remanded to Luzira Prison. A former manager of Uganda Television was also charged for misuse of Global Fund money.
and Edward Anyoli
THE Director of Economic Affairs in the Presidentâ€™s Office, Teddy Ssezi Cheeye, was yesterday charged with 26 offences related to the mismanagement of the Global Fund and remanded to Luzira Prison.
Only hours later, the former production manager of Uganda Television, Fred Kavuma, was charged with 14 counts of misuse of Global Fund money at the same court, and also sent to Luzira.
They are the first suspects to be prosecuted in the Global Fund scandal, two years after the Justice Ogoola Commission revealed gross mismanagement of the $43m donor fund, meant to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Cheeye had reported to the CID headquarters in the morning, where he was put under arrest. He was escorted to the court by William Kanonko, the head of the Anti-Fraud Squad, and Policemen armed with AK-47 rifles.
Dressed in a Kintege shirt, the former publisher of Uganda Confidential, appeared composed as the charges were read to him before Emmanuel Sayekwo, the Grade One magistrate of Buganda Road Court. He denied all of them.
Immediately afterwards, prosecutor Jane Okuo asked for the accused to be committed to the High Court for trial, adding that the investigations were complete.
Cheeye, 50, a resident of Naguru Hill in Nakawa Division, is alleged to have embezzled sh120m between March and December 2005 through his company, Uganda Centre for Accountability, where his wife was also a director.
He was charged with eight offences of forgery, nine offences of making false entries in accounts and eight offences of uttering false documents.
The prosecutor said Cheeye and other Global Fund suspects were likely to be tried by the newly created Anti-Corruption Court.
While remanding Cheeye to Luzira Prison, the magistrate said: â€œThis court does not have the jurisdiction to try you or grant you bail. You are remanded until the next High Courtâ€™s convenient session.â€
According to the evidence, Cheeyeâ€™s company received sh120m for monitoring, evaluation and supervision of Global Fund money in the districts of Rakai, Kabale, Ntungamo and Mbarara.
The prosecution argues that Cheeye submitted false bank balances to the Project Management. Okuo said Police investigations found that Cheeye never spent sh4.8m on hiring vehicles from Come Again Tours, as he had claimed, as the company did not exist.
The prosecution further argues that the accountability for fuel by the company totalling about sh16m was also found to be fraudulent.
It established that vehicle number UAA 688T, said to have consumed petrol from several fuel stations, was in reality a tractor that used diesel.
Okuo also told the court that the district officials, where Cheeye was supposed to have carried out audits, denied any knowledge of the companyâ€™s activities, and that workshops purportedly organised in Kabale and Kyotera never took place.
According to the prosecutor, fictitious names and signatures were used in the attendance lists.
The prosecution further argues that accountability worth sh100m was found to be false and fraudulent, with some of the documents confirmed forged by the handwriting expert.
Kavuma was charged with 14 counts, including forgery, uttering false documents, obtaining money by false pretence, abuse of office, impersonation, and fraudulent and false accounting. He denied all the charges.
The prosecution, again led by Okua, said Kavuma secured sh41.9m under a company called Lijac Promotional Services on behalf of the proprietor, Lillian Mary Nabunnya, without her knowledge.
Kavuma allegedly obtained the money in February 2005, claiming that he would organise sensitisation programmes on HIV/AIDS through the then Uganda Television, now UBC.
Okua further argues that Kavuma handed in false accountability for the money, claiming that it was from Kaku Media Links.
She further maintains that he abused his office by receiving money for personal gain while employed as a production manager.
Attempts by his lawyer, Bernard Ekemu, to secure bail failed when he was informed that he was indicted for abuse of office and would be tried by the Anti-Corruption Court, which is yet to be established as part of the High Court.
â€œUnder the provision cited by the State, your bail application cannot stand but your lawyer can apply for bail in the High Court,â€ Sayekwo said.
Casually dressed, Kavuma looked nervous as the charges were read out to him in a fully packed court.
Cheeye sent to Luzira over Global Fund