Prof Gilbert Bukenya, the Former vice president, of Uganda appeared before the Anti Corruption court on Thursday morning, to answer charges of abuse of office and fraudulent practice. Bukenya however denied the charges before Grade One Magistrate Sarah Nanga.
Through his lawyers, Macdusman Kabega and Tmusiime Co Advocates, Bukenya applied for bail but he was asked to deposit a cash bail of 50 million shillings. He was also asked to deposit his passport while his six sureties were ordered to pay non-cash bail of 200 million shillings each.
The six are Jessy Mukwaya and Felix Kabyanga, both business consultants; Henry Kaweesa, a community development officer based in Kakiri; Edward Mbogo, a farmer; John Seninde, an NRM mobiliser in Wakiso and Edward Fred Kasoma, the LC 3 chairperson for Buyingo sub county in Wakiso district.
Bukenya’s lawyer, Kabega told court that his client has been using a diplomatic passport since 2003 when he was appointed vice president and that he surrendered the document when he handed over office to his successor, Edward Ssekandi. But prosecution led by state Attorney Sydney Asubo argued that the defense lawyers should provide an affidavit to support their claims.
Asubo also asked court to impose travel restrictions on Bukenya, allowing him to move within only 100 metres of his home. But the defense lawyer opposed this arguing that Bukenya is a widely traveled man, who should not be given tight travel restrictions. He further argued that in an African set up, his client can’t avoid attending functions such as burials within his area.
Kabega also raised an objection to the charge of fraudulent acts, in which Bulenya is accused together with Motor Care Uganda Ltd. He asked for the charge sheet to be redefined because no individual is mentioned under Motor Care. He argued that an individual, not a company should be charged.
Motorcare was only represented by their lawyer, Fred Makada, who was asked to stand as a suspect. But Kabega argued that a defense lawyer cannot be a witness in the same case.
The former vice president is accused of influencing the award of the contract to supply official vehicles used during CHOGM, to Motor Care Uganda in total disregard of procurement laws. He is also jointly facing charges of fraudulent practice with Motor care Uganda Limited.
Prosecution alleges that the former vice president connived with Motor Care Uganda to commit fraudulent acts when he awarded the company a contract to supply of 80 Units of BMW and 1200 RT Police outrider motor cycles intended for use during CHOGM 2007.
Bukenya, who is also MP for Busiro North, is alleged to have committed the offences between May and November 2007, while chairing the cabinet sub committee of the Common Wealth Head of Government Meeting.
The case has been adjourned to June 30th 2011, when it will come up for mention.
Trouble for Bukenya started when the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Budadiri West MP, Nathan Nandala Mafabi implicated him in the CHOGM scandal.
In its report PAC accused Bukenya of influence peddling, flouting procurement laws and causing a financial loss of shillings six billion to the government of Uganda. PAC accused of Bukenya of ordering the lease of the expensive BMW cars during CHOGM at an exorbitant cost.
public accounts committee