LC1 Bicycle Scam Judgment Deferred

The long awaited judgment that would determine the fate of six men including the former Permanent Secretary of the Local Government ministry John Muhanguzi Kashaka has been deferred to July 15.

bicycles

The six are accused of their alleged role in the bungled procurement deal of 70,000 bicycles that were meant to be used by village LC1 chairpersons ahead of the 2011 Presidential elections but government instead lost over Shs4.6 billion instead.

The judgment that was scheduled to be delivered on Friday was pushed to July 15 on grounds that the presiding judge Catherine Bamugemereire was sick and unable to come court to pass her judgment.

This development about the judge’s sickness was communicated to suspects who were eager to hear their fate by the Deputy Registrar of the court Fred Waninda.

Waninda added that the judgement was indeed ready for reading but due to her sickness, it wasnt possible to read it out.

The suspects alongside their lawyers and the state prosecutors left the premises after waiting for about three hours to know their fate.

The other suspects in this case include; Henry Bamutura (Principal Accountant), Mr Robert Mwebaze (Principal Procurement Officer), Mr Sam Emorut Erongot (Assistant Commissioner Policy and Planning), Mr Timothy Musherure and Mr Adam  Aluma.

Kashaka along with Bamutura are accused of abusing their offices when they allegedly signed a final contract with  the bicycle supply firm Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd (Aitel) for delivery of 70,000 bicycles, without contacting and approval of the Contracts Committee.

About Shs4.6 billion is alleged to have been paid to the supply firm but no single bicycle has been delivered to date.

Prosecution led by Jane Abodo alleges that Bank of Uganda warned Kashaka about the discrepancies in the contract but he ignored the warning and signed it, an act that led to the loss of over Shs4.2 billion to government.

Some of the alleged discrepancies the prosecution points out include; change in delivery destination of bicycles from the village councils to Kampala city, the 70,000 bicycles were to be delivered by road transport but Kashaka changed to railway transport, among others.

Some of the suspects face a separate charge of neglecting their duties. All the suspects are out on bail.

Once convicted of abuse of office, Kashaka and his co-accused stand to be jailed up to 7 years and 14 years for causing financial loss.