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Court summons NAGRIC boss, Lagu in new sh4.5b corruption case

By Michael Odeng

Added 18th August 2020 12:32 PM

The Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate, Pamella Lamunu Ochaya, signed the summons requiring Dr. Charles Lagu and others to appear on August 26, 2020, without fail.

Court summons NAGRIC boss, Lagu in new sh4.5b corruption case

Dr. Charles Lagu appearing at Makindye Court on April 29, 2020 on charges of fraudulent procurement and supply of chloris gayana. File photo

The Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate, Pamella Lamunu Ochaya, signed the summons requiring Dr. Charles Lagu and others to appear on August 26, 2020, without fail.

COURT|FRAUDNAGRIC

Court has issued criminal summons against six officials of National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank (NAGRIC) including the executive director Dr. Charles Lagu, in connection to fraudulent procurement of animal semen worth sh4.5bn.

Lagu, 44, was summoned together with procurement officer Phillip Ezekiel Mukani, 31, Tadeo Mbaziira, 25, the Finance Administration Manager, and veterinary officer Dr. Patrick Mawadri, 33, to appear in court to answer charges of abuse of office, causing financial loss, uttering a false document, influence peddling and colluding to commit a fraudulent practice.

The offence of abuse of office, forgery and uttering a false document attracts a maximum sentence of seven-year-imprisonment, on conviction, while causing financial loss elicits 14 years-jail term.

The Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate, Pamella Lamunu Ochaya, signed the summons requiring Dr. Charles Lagu and others to appear on August 26, 2020, without fail.

State Prosecutor Steven Ariong from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) prompted the summons.

"Inquiries are not complete and I seek an adjournment to allow police complete investigations. I also pray for criminal summons against Lagu and his colleagues, who did not turn up in court," Ariong requested.

Last week on Wednesday, five out of 10 accused persons appeared in court and denied the charges.

The magistrate then sent them on remand at Kitalya Government Prison until Friday when she granted each of them a cash bail of sh10m with an order to deposit their passports with court before leaving prison.

"The sureties are hereby ordered to execute a non-cash bond of sh150m and ensure the accused return to court as investigations into their case continue," she directed.

The accused received their bail ruling through video conferencing that is connected to the High Court in Kampala and Kitalya Prison.

Those granted bail included the Deputy Technical Manager Dr. Wilfred Anthony Ntaate, 41, Nutritionist Dr. Charles Palms Ezati, 37, Farm Manager Nuwamanya Clement, 37, and directors of Kibubu Agro Supplies-Wakulira Mathias, 47, and Nabukenya Yasinta, 31.

Offences

Prosecution alleges that Lagu and Mukani on September 3, 2019, at NAGRC&DB, Entebbe Municipality in Wakiso district, in abuse of their offices, signed and witnessed a sh1, 319, 936, 000, contract between NAGRC&DB and Kibubu Agro Suppliers Limited, for the supply and delivery of animal semen without clearance from the Solicitor General as required by law.

Lagu and his co-accused in court recently. File photo


Prosecution also alleges that Lagu on July 5, 2019 confirmed funding and approved a request for procurement for the supply and delivery of semen with the estimated market price of sh1, 351, 560, 000, when he was not from the breeding department and without conducting a market survey, contrary to the procurement laws and regulations.

It is further alleged that Lagu and Mbazira in November 2019 approved, and effected payment of sh244, 464, 000, to Kibubu for breeds that were delivered in excess of what was requested for in the contract for the supply and delivery of semen.

The duo is also accused of approving and effecting payment of sh694, 088, 000 to Kibubu for undelivered breeds as per the terms of the contract.

It is also purported that Lagu and Mbazira in September 2019 approved, and effected payment of sh395, 980,800 to Kibubu as advance payment for supply and delivery of animal semen in total disregard of the payment structure stipulated in the contract.

The duo also in November 2019, allegedly approved, and effected payment of sh482, 712, 000 to Kibubu for breeds that were not requested for in the contractor supply and delivery of animal semen.

Meanwhile, the directors of Kibubu Agro Suppliers Limited, are accused of receiving the money from NAGRIC, for the supply and delivery of breeds that were delivered in excess of what was requested for in the contract, knowing it would cause financial loss to the Government.

Other charges

On April 29, this year, Lagu,  44, Mukani, Olivious Komujuni, 27, the animal husbandry officer, and Emmanuel Kafute Rumanzi, 37, the director Nuruma Holdings Limited were charged over fraudulent procurement and supply of chloris gayana, a kind of grass, from one government farm to another.

According to prosecution, the grass was allegedly procured from Ruhengyere Farm and supplied to Nshaara Ranch and Sanga farms by Nuruma Holdings Limited at the cost of sh54.4m.

On April 29, this year, Police arrested the accused under the orders of State House Anti-Corruption Unit head, Lt.Col Edith Nakalema.

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